Game 1 of the World Series is tonight, and I’m excited to see the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Coke_ad_grover_cleveland_alexande_2Of course, I can’t believe my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, just missed making it to the Series. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may know I’m a huge Red Sox fan, having grown up in Massachusetts. I even highlighted a special Red Sox World Series ring in a display at the World of Coca-Cola.

Red Sox loss aside, Coca-Cola and baseball grew up together. Rumor has it that the early founders of our bottling business were inspired to put Coke in bottles so they could bring it to baseball games!

Starting in 1903, we introduced ads featuring famous Major League players drinking Coca-Cola. It was one of the earliest uses of celebrity endorsements in American advertising history.

Over the years, a unique “all star” team for Coca-Cola has emerged. Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Ty Cobb, Home Run Baker, Willie Mays and John McGraw are just a few of the players who appeared in our ads over the years.

Though I’m not taking sides, in honor of the Phillies, I thought I’d mention a few early ads that featured Philadelphia players.

One of the earliest endorsements came from Napoleon Lajoie, a four-time batting champion with Philadelphia and Cleveland. In a 1905 ad in a Philadelphia newspaper, Lajoie said, “I drink Coca-Cola regularly and have been doing so for several years. It is the most refreshing beverage an athlete can drink.”

We also had a 1916 ad praising Grover Cleveland Alexander of the Philadelphia Nationals and his stamina for pitching 49 full games. As the ad said, “Of course he drinks Coca-Cola.”

So good luck to both teams tonight, and I’ll wait to see the Red Sox play next year!