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

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.

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.