David Adam

Who was Ellison Poulton, and what is a rosin bag used for?

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Chicago Cubs starter Jason Hammel throws down the rosin bag during the fourth inning of the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Chicago, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. HuhSTF
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 24, 2016 10:15 am Updated: Oct. 24, 2016 10:23 am

Who was Ellison Poulton, and why is the stadium at Culver-Stockton College named after him?

The name of the stadium where the Culver-Stockton College football and soccer teams play is called Ellison Poulton Stadium.

The stadium was built to the west of the college's campus, and it was used for the first time in 1948. According to a story in the Oct. 5, 1953, edition of the Megaphone, the C-SC newspaper, Poulton bequeathed his entire estate to Culver-Stockton College "for such use as the Board of Trustees shall see fit" when he died on April 16, 1945.

The estate was valued at almost $200,000 and was used to establish a natural bowl field, concrete bleachers, a refreshment stand, press box and restrooms. The field was dedicated on Oct. 17, 1953.

Poulton grew up in Canton, where he played football and baseball and also participated in drama in high school. His father, James, was born in 1850 and was the son of a judge.

Poulton went to C-SC from 1915-19, and he was the coach of the 1918 football team that went 1-2. That was in the days before C-SC employed athletic coaches as members of the faculty.

Poulton went on to law school at Harvard and eventually worked as an assistant for the attorney general's office in St. Louis. He was a bachelor and lived in St. Louis for nearly 20 years.

He became a member of the Board of Trustees at Culver-Stockton College in 1942 He gave the college his family's residence at 800 College that was used as the home for the school president. It was used as the president's house for 30 years until a newer building was constructed for that purpose in the mid-1980s.

The stadium had a synthetic turf surface installed in 2014. The surface is called NX Level Field at Ellison Poulton Stadium. Terry Ahern, a 1980 C-SC graduate, is the owner of NX Level Sportswear in Glendale, Ariz., and he provided the funds for the new surface.

The turf cost about $800,000. In turn, all C-SC teams will be outfitted with gear by NX Level for the next 10 years, including with jerseys, practice and coaching gear. The men's and women's soccer programs moved their games from Ayers Field back to Ellison Poulton Stadium. 

What is in the white bag pitchers use during a baseball game?

Rule 8.02 (a)(4) in the Major League Baseball rulebook states that "the pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind on the ball."

However, pitchers are allowed to use a rosin bag during games. Rosin is a powdery resin, and the small bags often are typically white sanitary socks with the ends tied off. Rosin is typically helpful on hot days to dry sweat and help grip the ball, pitchers say.

Rosin also is used by Olympic gymnasts and weightlifters, bull riders, bowlers and ballet dancers.

Baseballs typically come out of the box glossy and with a slippery feel. The umpires are responsible for preparing the balls by rubbing them down with a coating of mud, though that job often falls to a locker room attendant.

Lena Blackburne Original Baseball Rubbing Mud is the only product officially allowed on the ball. It's mud from a tributary of the Delaware River in New Jersey discovered in 1938 by Blackburne, a third base coach with the Philadelphia Athletics. The mud has the consistency of pudding and takes the shine off the ball, but it does not necessarily improve grip.

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