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How the Pirates indirectly caused kids to be poisoned

Mar 19, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT

You never know where you’ll find some random baseball factoid or reference. Today I was reading this story about those old Mr. Yuk poison stickers over at Mental Floss and learned that Mr. Yuk’s creation was attributable, at least in small part, to the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Mr. Yuk’s story begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1970. Dr. Richard W. Moriarty, then a chief pediatric resident at the Children’s Hospital, noticed that there were many calls about poisons coming to the emergency room, not to mention many needless visits, when parents should have been calling Poison Centers first . . . Complicating matters was the fact that the Jolly Roger—a skull and crossbones that had traditionally been used to warn kids of poisonous substances—had been incorporated into the logo of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and appeared on everything from cereal boxes to gum labels. “Children are relating the danger symbol for poison with pleasant surroundings,” Moriarty, then director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The confusion may even have led to an uptick in poisonings in the area.

Way to go, Buccos.

In other news, my brother and I used to get sheets of the Mr. Yuk stickers from drug stores when we were kids. Ours said “West Virginia Poison Center” on them:


We’d take black markers and black out letters to make them say ‘Virgin son,” which we decided would be a great name for a band or a production company or something. As you can see, the words would be nicely arced over the top of the sticker, so they looked cool. We stuck them on everything.

I still think I’d like to use Virgin Son as the name of a production or publishing company or something someday. I also think that, if I did, Richard Branson would sue my butt off.

  1. raysfan1 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Here’s your new plan, Craig–get Richard Branson to adopt you. You could then launch “Virgin Son” without fear of lawsuit; you would also have no worries about financial backing for your project.

  2. anxovies - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    I was one of those for the first 16 years of my life but then I got a part time job and bought a car.

  3. someguyinva - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    And now I’ve got the Mr. Yuk song stuck in my head…

    Mr. Yuk is mean
    Mr. Yuk is green
    When you see him stop and think
    Do not touch, do not drink
    Do not smell and do not eat
    Or you will be sick
    Mr. Yuk is mean
    Mr. Yuk is green

    (You’re welcome).

    • moogro - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      My mind always confused this with Scooby Doo Cartoons.

  4. mikhelb - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    Slow news dat? Nobody cares for the Pirates, not even their own “fans”, which is the real reason peoole would poison themselves in their long years of “suckitude” (i know it doesnt apply because 30 years ago in your childhood they were “good”).

    • kevinbnyc - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      Thanks for taking a moment to proofread your writing. Really helps get the point across.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      Thank you for the incredibly insightful, wonderfully positive post Mik!

    • apkyletexas - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      @mikhelb – how many times has your favorite team won game 7 of a World Series? If it’s less than 5, like my Pirates, then I guess you just plain suck, don’t you now?

      Little hint – unless you are a Cards fan, then you lose on the above criteria. They’ve won game 7 of a World Series an astounding 8 times.

  5. musketmaniac - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    were you born in wv?

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