Since joining the Portland Mavericks in the ‘70s, Nelson has called the “City of Roses” Home for 40 years
Portland, OR – Big League Chew inventor Rob “Nellie” Nelson will be recognized by the City of Portland for his contributions to the city, as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales will proclaim August 19, 2015 as “Rob Nelson Day.” The following day, the Hillsboro Hops, short-season affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, will pay homage to Nelson’s former team, the Portland Mavericks.
A baseball journeyman venturing overseas, Nelson spent 12 years pitching throughout South Africa, Australia, and England before landing in Portland, Oregon as a member of the Portland Mavericks pitching staff. In 1977, while sitting in the bullpen with Mavericks teammate and former New York Yankee Jim Bouton, Nelson shared his idea for shredded bubble gum as a positive and fun alternative to chewing tobacco for athletes. Today, Nelson’s iconic product celebrates its 35th Anniversary having sold more than 800 million pouches.
Inspired by his passion for baseball and desire to give back, Nelson also founded the Little Mavericks Baseball School, the first-ever baseball day camp for youth where active, in-season professional baseball players served as coaches. With permission from Mavericks owner Bing Russell, Nelson ran Little Mavericks baseball camps during the day with the help of his teammates. Following the camps, youth participants would then attend Mavericks games free of charge to watch their mentors in action.
“In my life’s journey traveling the globe playing baseball, I must say that there is no place on Earth like Portland, Oregon,” Nelson remarked. “I’m blessed to have the chance to give back to the city I have called home for the last 40 years. I owe a great deal to all who have helped me along the way, especially those involved with the founding of the Little Mavericks and my former teammates.”
Nelson will also be in attendance at the Hillsboro Hops game on August 20, as they pay tribute to the Portland Mavericks, the original team of “misfits” featured in the Netflix documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Approximately 50 of former Mavs will be honored before the game and celebrated throughout the evening; the Hops will don throwback Mavericks uniforms to pay respect to the team. Following the game, fans exiting Ron Tonkin Field will receive a free pouch of Big League Chew shredded bubble gum.
About Big League Chew:
Founded by former left-handed pitcher Rob “Nellie” Nelson, Big League Chew started from humble beginnings in the Portland Mavericks bullpen in 1977. After a 30-year relationship with Wrigley, Big League Chew started a new relationship with Ford Gum, allowing the brand to bring the company’s bubble gum production back to the United States, where it is currently manufactured in Akron, N.Y. Celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2015, the iconic pouches packed with shredded, flavorful bubble gum have become the preferred chewing gum for all ages having sold more than 800 million pouches to date.