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Movie Stars and Ballplayers Will No Longer Grace Cigarette Ads

Apr. 30, 1964 - The tobacco folks have gotten together and agreed not to use movie stars and ballplayers in their advertising any more.

Gus Triandos was the most outspoken of a pack of Phillies interviewed on the decision. He wasn’t angry about the possibility of losing out on a cigarette commercial. He just doesn’t agree with the basic premise of the thing.

“You smoke and drink in front of your own kids,” Triandos said. “Who’s more important, your kids or some strangers? Kids don’t emulate ballplayers anyway. The father should have more influence in his home. It bugs me because I used to have a liquor dealership in the winter, and they were always on me about it.”

Jim Bunning thought it was a tempest in an ashtray.

“You haven’t seen any ballplayers in cigarette ads for a year anyway,” he said. “President Kennedy told the tobacco industry it was not a good idea over a year ago.”

Bunning is one of those strong-willed guys who gave up the habit.

“I started as a junior in high school because it seemed like the thing to do. But I just decided I was smoking too much. I made a New Year’s resolution, and I’ve kept it. It was easy after the first two weeks.”

There are four non-smokers in the Phillies’ starting lineup: Danny Cater, Bob Wine, Roy Sievers, and Tony Gonzalez. Cater was never influenced by ballplayer endorsements in ads. “I bought things if they had a prize in them,” he remarked.

Sievers recalled how his abstinence cost him $1,500.

“Camel cigarettes wanted me for a commercial,” he said. “Jim Lemon and me practiced smoking in the room the night before. The guy came down and had lunch with me, and he kept offering me a cigarette all through lunch. I said, ‘I never smoke while I’m eating.’ Finally, lunch was over, and I had to take one. I got it lit all right, and then he said ‘inhale.’ I started choking. He asked me if I smoked, and I told him I didn’t, so he said forget it.”

Gonzalez smoked two packs a day until 1957, when he quit.

“I didn’t feel good,” he said, “so I stopped. At first, it was terrible. I would take a cigarette and put it in my mouth and not light it. Now, I don’t miss it.”

Johnny Callison has been smoking for five years.

“I sat around one winter, not doing anything,” he said. “That’s how I got started. No, I never bought anything because some ballplayer endorsed it. If I liked a glove, I used it, no matter whose glove it was. Heck, I didn’t have money to buy a glove for a long time anyway.”

About the only Phillies player who was influenced to smoke by other ballplayers is Richie Allen.

“I got started in spring training in 1961,” he remembers. “I wanted to be a big leaguer. Lee Walls offered me a cigarette, and I said no thanks. Somebody called me a rookie, so I took one. The first one almost killed me. I bought a pack and carried it around with me. When they shipped me out, I quit. I smoked off and on at Twin Falls. When I hit a slump in May, I started again, and I’ve been smoking ever since.”

Gene Mauch, who is a heavy smoker, didn’t want to talk about it.

“The only way we’ll get a change in smoking habits is if we get social changes,” he suggested, lighting a filter-tip cigarette. “If a guy got credit for not smoking, maybe it would become fashionable not to smoke.”

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