Why do Baseball Players Eat Sunflower Seeds? 4 Reasons

Why do Baseball Players Eat Sunflower Seeds? Reasons

You’re watching an interesting baseball game and then you notice that the batter is constantly chewing something. Is it bubble gum? Is it some kind of medicine? No! It must be sunflower seeds. Yes. No need to get all surprised. Eating sunflower seeds is one of the most common habits of a lot of baseball players. But why do baseball players eat sunflower seeds?

One of my sons kept asking me to buy sunflower seeds for him because he had seen his favorite player eating them during a game. I had no other option but to get him the seeds. So I did. But he doesn’t know the reason behind eating seeds. Well, he’s just a kid, he’s got time to learn things.

That’s why I decided to write a guide about the importance of sunflower seeds in baseball. Do sunflower seeds give them extra pitching powers? Let’s find out the real reasons.

Why do Baseball Players Eat Sunflower Seeds? 4 Reasons

So, what makes sunflower seeds a favorite snack of baseball players? Do sunflower seeds give players unique power? Don’t speculate. This section is going to clear all doubts and help you know the real reason behind the chewing seeds habit of players. The following are a few potential reasons you must know

Infield Dirt

Players play baseball in a field that has dirt, sand, and other impurities as well. The dirt particles from the field can go inside the mouth of players. 

So, eating or chewing sunflower seeds can prevent this. Having a bag full of seeds is handy for players as they can chew and spit during the game.


Another important aspect of chewing sunflower seeds is that they are full of valuable nutrients and vitamins. The richness of these seeds is no more a secret to anyone. 

Eating one tablespoon of sunflower seeds keeps the human body warm enough and active throughout the day. Furthermore, nutrients such as calcium, iron, protein, magnesium, and potassium are present in sunflower seeds.

Reduce Stress

A lot of stress and anxiety are associated with games like baseball. To reduce anxiety on the field, chewing something certainly helps during intense games. 

Additionally, it helps in keeping the brain occupied and stimulated while providing better sensory perception. Consequently, eating sunflower seeds can keep players calm and stress-free.

reduce stress - Why do baseball players eat sunflower seeds?

History of Sunflower Seeds in Baseball

How did the strange habit of eating seeds become a part of baseball culture? You can understand this by taking a tour of old times. Let’s take you through the history of sunflowers seeds and baseball. 

What made players chew seeds? Tobacco. Yes! Back in the 1800s, baseball players used to chew tobacco while waiting for their turn. This has become a constant habit for players to stimulate saliva production and reduce anxiety. 

Constant chewing of tobacco impacts the health of players in the long run. After the 1950s, a few players started the trend of eating sunflower seeds instead of tobacco. This is when players used to eat seeds off-field.

  • Do you know?

In 1968, the trend of eating seeds both on and off-field was started by Reggie Jackson, one of the most famous and legendary baseball players. He started taking a bag of seeds to the dugout and used to spit in front of other players. Everybody took it as an inspiration, be it fellow players, be it fans.

According to an ex-pitching coach, St. Louis Cardinal, the 1980s was an era of birdseed. That era has never ended as players still opt for chewing seeds infield. 

Sunflower seeds are easier to get and the shells of seeds are way easier to discard. Not only that, seeds provide heaps of nutrients as well.

General Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

  • Sunflower seeds are enriched with healthy nutrients such as iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, selenium, potassium, vitamin B1 and so much more.
  • Also, these are great sources of protein that can boost the energy level of the body.
  • Heart health can also get improved by all the amazing nutrients.
  • Sunflower seeds are great for boosting the immune system and help in fighting free radicals.
General Benefits of Sunflower Seeds - Why do baseball players eat sunflower seeds?

Did MLB Ban Chewing Baseball Seeds?

Yes, MLB did ban chewing sunflower seeds during the peak of COVID-19, in 2020. The rule was enforced solely because of the spitting habits of players. It was nothing to do with the seeds themselves but with transferring saliva infield. MLB wanted players to not spit as it could cause transferring of the virus. MLB has discarded this rule after the era of COVID.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you think that there is any special way to eat sunflower seeds, then let us break it to you that there is no. You can eat it however you want. One of the most common and easy methods to eat seeds is: to take hand-full seeds in your mouth and keep them at one side of your mouth. Then, bring one of the seeds to the front of the mouth and crack the shell with the front teeth. Spit the shells and eat the inside seed.

It’s recommended to eat 60 sunflower seeds bags per team at one game. This means that MLB players consume approximately 300,000 bags per season.

Yes, there’s surely an official brand of sunflower seeds for MLB players. DAVID is the official sunflower seeds brand of Major League Baseball.

Reggie Jackson started the trend of eating sunflower seeds in the dugout. He was one of the most impactful baseball players during the era of 1968. A lot of young players wanted to be like him, and that’s why other players started to consume seeds.

Yes, chewing sunflower seeds help in reducing anxiety and stress level during intense baseball games. As it provides continuous and better sensory perception. This continues in keeping the player calm and composed.


There’s no way that you ever noticed any baseball player spitting on the ground. I know you must have. Questions like, “why do baseball players eat sunflower seeds?” comes to mind as normal.

The reasons behind this unusual habit of chewing seeds are all the dirt and sand going in the mouth that can irritate the player during the game. Sunflower seeds are a great snack that offers essential nutrients and vitamins to the body. Additionally, it’s a great alternative to tobacco as it can cause serious health issues. 

If you’re planning to pursue a baseball career, then knowing the logic of chewing sunflower seeds is one of the basic information for you. You must understand the history of consuming sunflower seeds. 

I hope this blog post helped you understand the reason, history, and general benefits of eating sunflower seeds. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a packet of seeds and start chewing to get amazing benefits out of them. Happy Chewing! Enjoy your Game!

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