Uni Watch: Wearing a Wedding Ring on the Field

From SABR member Paul Lukas at ESPN.com on November 3, 2011:

If you follow TMZ as closely as you follow ESPN, you may be aware that Ben Roethlisberger got married over the summer. The hope among Pittsburgh Steelers fans was that getting hitched might have a mellowing effect on some of Big Ben’s more, uh, adventurous off-field tendencies. The jury’s still out on that, but being married has had at least one visible effect for Roethlisberger on the field: He’s been wearing his wedding band, covered with tape, while playing.


Roethlisberger is part of a small subset of athletes — including a surprising number of NFL players — who compete while wearing their wedding rings, a move that seems both charming and risky. … But what about other athletes? Here’s a sport-by-sport rundown:

Whitey Ford was notorious for doctoring the baseball by cutting it with his wedding ring, until an umpire got wise to it. According to Jim Bouton’s seminal book “Ball Four,” “The ump could have caused real trouble, but he went out to the mound and said, ‘Whitey, go into the clubhouse. Your jock strap needs fixing. And when you come back, it better be without that ring.'”

Aside from Ford, wedding bands are rare in baseball, because it’s hard to grip a bat while wearing a ring. That eliminates every player in the game except for American League pitchers. Left-handed pitchers presumably wouldn’t want to have a ring on their throwing hand, so we can take them out of the mix too. That leaves right-handed AL pitchers. And if any of them are wearing their rings on their glove hands, Uni Watch hasn’t spotted it yet.

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/story/_/id/7182495/uni-watch-talks-ben-roethlisberger-other-athletes-wearing-wedding-rings-field

Originally published: November 9, 2011. Last Updated: November 9, 2011.