So two memorable things happened that summer that involved Steve Wilson, then with the Cubs, and Jose Rijo, then with the Reds. During that time we would indulge in a little smokeless tobacco, aka dip, and so did Wilson and Rijo. During one Giants v. Cubs game, while seated in the front row, we asked to bum a dip from Wilson. He obliged and handed us a tin of Hawken. Hawken was unlike Skoal or Copenhagen, the dip itself was like little nuggets not the fine cut stuff that Skoal or Cope made, and it had a sweet tang taste to it too. In any event, after bumming a dip, we asked Wilson if we could keep the tin since ballplayers back in the day had an endless supply of chew/dip. To our surprise, Wilson said sure and let us keep the tin. Our second encounter involved Rijo who was then a starting pitcher for the Reds. During the Reds batting practice, Rijo was running from foul pole to foul pole on the warning track, and as he approached the left field pole, we asked if we could bum a dip from him too! He reached in his back pocket and tossed us a tin of Hawken. After taking a dip, we were prepared to toss it back to him but he said, "keep it."
Needless to say, this would NEVER happen today. First, tobacco companies no longer supply chew/dip openly to players for free. The teams have to purchase it on their own and keep it out of sight in the dugout (i.e. don't show it on TV). Second, players would probably be scared to hand a tin to someone still in their teens. As Candlestick Park enters it's last season, this is one of the memories we will remember of the old 'Stick.
Jose Rijo - Reds
Steve Wilson - Cubs