Baseball players are funny people, and they have at their disposal a plethora of props for use in staging some practical jokes (hot-foot in jockstraps, gum or shoe polish in hats, etc.). Below is just a sampling of the many more elaborate pranks played on some hapless victims.
September 29, 1937
The Prankster: Tony Lazzeri, Yankee second baseman
The Victim: "Indian Bob" Johnson, Philadelphia Athletics outfielder
The Joke: Lazzeri spent a couple of weeks preparing a ball to be as useless as tits on a bull. He bashed it with a bat until it was nice and spongy, then soaked it in a tub of soapy water. On game day, Lazzeri ground the ball with dirt, then covered it in shoe polish to make it look like new. With help from pitcher Kemp Wicker, Lazzeri replaced the game ball with the mushball when Johnson stepped up to bat. Wicker threw a straight pitch right down the middle, and Johnson connected mightily. The ball popped straight up in the air, and landed behind the catcher with a dead thud. The crowd exploded with laughter, and the umpire ruled it a strike, until he examined the ball. Everyone got a good laugh out of the incident, including Johnson.
Last Regular Season Game, 1992
The Prankster: Joe Carter
The Victim: Derek Bell
The Joke: In this elaborate prank, Carter conspired with the announcers and the rest of the team in order to set up a free car give away to a lucky fan. At the conclusion of the game, the announcers declared that one of the fans would be receiving a brand new car, which appeared on the field as they were speaking. The fans erupted with excited applause as the Candy Apple Red Jeep emerged from the outfield gate driven by Joe Carter. The only person who was not excited was rookie Derek Bell, it was his Jeep. Of course no one won the car, but the look on Bell's face was priceless.
June 26, 2003
The Prankster: The entire Tampa Bay Devil Rays
The Victim: Rocco Baldelli
The Joke: Rookie center fielder Rocco Baldelli had rapidly risen to the position of star outfielder during his debut season. When the team took to the field, the fans began chanting "R-O-C-C-O! R-O-C-C-O!" They did this throughout the entire first inning, and kept it going when the Rays went to bat. By the time Rocco went to bat, the chant was roaring at fever pitch. The umpire was forced to call time and had to remove his mask to wipe away tears of laughter. Baldelli was thouroughly confused. The umpire kept laughing until he finally told Rocco to check his uniform. The team had replaced 'Baldelli' with 'R O C C O' in very large lettering. Baldelli laughed, promptly struck out, and ran back to change his jersey.
Offspring - Original Prankster