What do Baseball Players Put on Their Eyes?

Baseball players have long used eye black, a greasy substance that they apply under their eyes, to reduce glare from the sun, stadium lights, and other sources. Eye black is made from a combination of wax, petroleum jelly, and dye, and is designed to reduce the amount of light that reflects off of the skin and into the eyes. While eye black may seem like an odd choice for athletes, it has been used for decades and can have a significant impact on a player’s performance.

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The History of Eye Black

The use of eye black can be traced back to the early 1900s, when football players first began using it. It wasn’t until the 1950s, however, that baseball players began to use eye black. The first baseball player to use eye black was Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige, who applied the substance to his face in order to reduce the glare from the sun.

In the late 1960s, professional baseball players began using eye black more widely. They would often apply the substance to their faces and arms, and would even use eye black to create “eye black streaks” on their faces to show their team spirit. As the use of eye black grew in popularity, many teams began to provide the substance to their players in the dugout.

Benefits of Using Eye Black

While it may seem like a strange choice for athletes, there are some real benefits to using eye black. The most obvious benefit is that it can reduce the amount of light that reflects off of the skin and into the eyes, which can help improve a player’s vision and reaction time. In addition to this, eye black can also help protect the skin from damage caused by the sun’s UV rays, as well as keep sweat from dripping into a player’s eyes.

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Types of Eye Black

There are several different types of eye black available on the market today. The most common type is a pre-made paste that is applied directly to the skin, which is available in a variety of colors. There are also stick-on eye black patches, which are easier to apply and can be removed easily when needed. Finally, there are liquid eye black products that can be sprayed or brushed onto the skin.

Potential Risks of Using Eye Black

Although eye black can be beneficial, there are some potential risks associated with its use. Eye black can cause skin irritation, especially if it is not applied correctly. Additionally, if eye black gets into the eyes, it can cause temporary vision problems. For this reason, it is important for players to make sure that their eye black is applied correctly and that it does not get into their eyes.


Eye black has been used by baseball players for decades, and can provide a number of benefits, including improved vision and protection from the sun’s UV rays. While there are some potential risks associated with its use, eye black is generally safe when used correctly. If you’re a baseball player looking to improve your performance, consider giving eye black a try.