As fate would have it, my Little League team was sponsored by McDonald’s. That’s right, the golden arches graced my white uniform. Emblazoned with blue lettering, a blue hat and blue stockings, I always thought it was a clean uniform. I’ve seen many pictures since that ’67-’68 season, but for the life of me, I can’t remember my number. All of the pictures were of me standing facing the camera. The number was on the back.
Being sponsored by the coolest business in town had its perks. None better than a home-run, double or triple entitled me and my teammates to a free cheeseburger. Doing something good as a pitcher or fielder also provided for like reward. In other words, the better you were as a player, the more likely you would have health issues later in life. We didn’t measure the cheeseburger ingredients or where they were from back then. Their long-term impact didn’t garner much discussion. We just ate those bad boys with a smile from ear-to-ear. Here’s to not being sponsored by Joe’s Plumbing Services.
In 1967, Jim Delligatti didn’t concern himself much with ingredients, either. Thank God. This guy created one of the greatest sandwiches ever to make its way into a cardboard container — the Big Mac. “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” Yes, sir, this is the sandwich I had when I didn’t have any free cheeseburger coupons. In hindsight, batting slumps weren’t that bad.
Big Macs have sold in the billions (with a B). Obviously, Jim’s creation hit the mark for Little Leaguers, their parents and, well, just about everybody else. What a sandwich. Remember the piece of bread in the middle of the sandwich that served to stabilize those patties and all the junk they had on them? For you young people, these were the good ol’ days when the meat was bigger than the bun, which called for lots of junk. Special sauce was measured in tablespoons, not a “dab.” Vegetable intake was in the form of plenty of pickles, onions everywhere and lettuce that resembled a New Year’s Eve party’s confetti allowance.
Millennials have pushed back from Big Macs. Sales are down. Apparently, there is the question of “allegedly” healthier options. Like, say, Chipotle, who buys only local farmers’ organic ingredients grown in fields of local manure. Apparently without any local FDA standards, people get sick. A lot of people. I’m just saying.
Mr. Delligatti invented the Big Mac when he was about 49 years old. He died at 98. He ate a lot of them in the second half of his life. Never got sick — me, either. Good for him. I’m in my 60th year, and sadly, I can’t remember the last time I had a Big Mac. I do, however, know when I will have my next one — today at noon. Thanks, Jim.