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Do Baseball Players Really Pee on Their Hands?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Although it is unusual, and the benefits of doing so are unclear, some baseball players do pee on their hands. The most common reasons cited are to toughen the skin, to soften the skin, and to prevent or treat blisters or calluses. Urine contains an organic compound called urea, which also is produced commercially and included in many moisturizing skin creams.

Players Who Have Admitted It

During an interview in 2004, Moises Alou, a professional baseball player, revealed that he pees on his hands to harden the skin and prevent calluses. Alou, who played for the Chicago Cubs at the time, said he did not know where he learned this trick, but he credited the practice with his ability to hit without using batting gloves. These gloves are worn by many players while batting to improve their grip on the bat and to avoid blisters, calluses or other harmful effects on the skin of the hands.

Other baseball players have also admitted to the practice, including Jorge Posada, a former catcher for the New York Yankees, and Kerry Wood, who was then a pitcher for the Cubs. Although he did not do it regularly, Wood said he tried it when he was having difficulty getting rid of blisters on his hand.

Benefits and Drawbacks

This practice might seem disgusting to many people, but there is evidence that it might not be an entirely bad idea. Urine generally is sterile, although it might pick up some contaminants as it leaves the body. It also contains urea, a compound which does soften the skin.

The urea content of urine, however, is much lower than that of common skin lotions. This means that players probably would achieve much better results from simply using lotion than from peeing on their hands. Some scientists believe that, to achieve the same results as using lotions, players would have to soak their hands in urine for about five minutes. Urine also can worsen skin conditions for some people, although it might help others.

Another Solution

During his playing career, Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan used another trick: he would soak his fingers in pickle juice. Like urine, the pickle juice was alleged to toughen the skin and prevent blisters from forming. The benefits of this practice have never been proven, but many other players have tried it as well.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Sports n' Hobbies contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon229235 — On Nov 12, 2011

Urine helps my eczema immensely.

By Crispety — On May 29, 2011

@Anon76321 -I agree that this is really gross, and if they wanted to soften their hands couldn’t they use an exfoliating scrub? I think that it probably has to do with some superstition because I know that baseball players are really superstitious especially if they are winning.

For example, I recently read that during the World Series, some baseball players don’t change their underwear because they think that it would give them bad luck.

I think that if one baseball player does it and word gets around, the others will follow because they don’t want to miss out on some kind of advantage.

I am sure that NFL players and hockey players probably do the same thing. They probably all have weird rituals like that.

By anon76321 — On Apr 09, 2010

That is so gross but kind of cool!

By anon40593 — On Aug 09, 2009

That is absolutely not true, urine is not a cure for eczema. Please do not pee on your eczema, find a doctor.

By anon606 — On Apr 30, 2007

actually urine on the skin does not worsen eczema. it cures eczema and psoriasis! maybe gross but true...

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Sports n' Hobbies contributor, Tricia...
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