Shieber: Zee-Nuts and Zee-Numbers

From SABR member Tom Shieber at Baseball Researcher on January 25, 2020:

In 1912, the Collins McCarthy Candy Company issued its second series of Zee-Nut baseball cards. That same year, the confectioners produced another series of cards, these packaged with a candy called Home Run Kisses. With the release of these two sets, the San Francisco-based company unwittingly documented an important, but generally overlooked moment in baseball history. More about that in a moment, but first a bit about the candies.

Introduced in California in 1908 and invented by William P. Chase, Zee-Nut candy was something like a coconut version of Cracker Jack, the popular candy that was first introduced a dozen years earlier. Zee-Nut consisted of popcorn, peanuts, and coconut, all mixed together with a sugary syrup. Chase (who later sold out to Collins McCarthy) worked hard to market the candy, and in March of 1908 it quite literally exploded on the scene.

As noted in the Los Angeles Herald of March 1, 1908, “THE HERALD will ‘explode’ a bomb up in the air about a thousand feet above the W.P. CHASE Zee-Nut Factory, 420-422 South Broadway, and as it explodes 1030 coupons will be set loose and fall to the street below. Each of these coupons will be good for free presents.” The presents listed included silver dollars, boxes of candy, fountain pens, watch fobs, and, of course, packages of Zee-Nut.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 27, 2020. Last Updated: January 27, 2020.