Seventh Inning Stretch Dates Back to a NY College Tradition in the Late 1800s

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Have you ever wondered why everyone stands up to stretch in the middle of the 7th inning at ballparks around the continent, if not the world? Several lay claim to the infancy of the seventh inning stretch. Manhattan College’s Brother Jasper of Mary is one of three claims acknowledged in Cooperstown.

With major league baseball in full swing, including Derek Jeter reaching the 3,000 hit list on July 9 and the 2011 All-Star game tonight, one custom has remained constant throughout every baseball game and the beginning of the majors – the seventh inning stretch.

Have you ever wondered why everyone stands up to stretch in the middle of the 7th inning at ballparks around the continent, if not the world? Several lay claim to the infancy of the seventh inning stretch. Manhattan College’s Brother Jasper of Mary is one of three claims acknowledged in Cooperstown.

He served at the College in the late 19th century, bringing baseball to Manhattan College, as its first coach. Since Brother was also the Prefect of Discipline, he supervised the student fans at Manhattan College baseball games while also directing the team itself.

While playing a semi-pro baseball team called the Metropolitans, Brother Jasper noticed the Manhattan students were becoming restless and edgy because of the extremely hot and humid weather. To relieve the tension, Brother Jasper called time-out before the Jasper at bat in the seventh inning and told the students to stand up and stretch for a few minutes until the game resumed.

Since the College annually played the New York Giants in the late 1880’s and into the 1890’s at the Polo Grounds, the Manhattan College practice of the seventh inning stretch spread into the major leagues, where it has now become a time-honored custom practiced by millions of fans annually.

About Manhattan College:

Manhattan College is located at West 242nd Street near Broadway in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, one mile from the Westchester County line and accessible by MTA subway line No. 1. For directions to the campus, visit http://www.manhattan.edu.

Founded in 1853, Manhattan College is an independent, Lasallian Catholic, coeducational institution of higher learning offering more than 40 major programs of undergraduate study in the areas of arts, business, education, engineering and science, along with graduate programs in education and engineering. For more information about Manhattan College, visit http://www.manhattan.edu.

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Elizabeth Connolly
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