Appel: The Cracker Jack Old Timers Baseball Classic

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on January 12, 2015:

Between 1982 and 1990, an annual old timers game was played, first in Washington, D.C., and then in Buffalo, New York—an event that drew national attention from its very first inning.

It was known as the Cracker Jack Old Timers Baseball Classic, and it was the brainchild of former Atlanta Braves Vice President Dick Cecil.

“I missed seeing the old guys, and I wanted to stage a real game, not a two-inning affair where everyone hit once,” he recalled. “I wanted a game where the players would feel competitive once again.”

With that in mind he took the idea to Ketchum Communications, whose client, Borden, owned Cracker Jack. The snack, part of the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” lyrics, had lost some of its baseball identity over the years, and its CEO, Frank Forrestal (son of FDR’s naval secretary, James), saw this as a great opportunity for his brand.

“Our presentation was 15 minutes long,” said Cecil. “They were aboard before we walked into the room. Most of the 15 minutes were spent talking about players to invite. I thought, “Is it always this easy?”

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Originally published: January 13, 2015. Last Updated: January 13, 2015.