Here's Why You'll See Cracker Jill At Ballparks This Summer

Those familiar with the untold truth of Cracker Jack may recall that "Jack" didn't refer to a person. Rather, "cracker jack" was the 1890s equivalent of today's "lit," per the Made-in-Chicago Museum. As the story goes, upon tasting the molasses-coated popcorn and peanut creation, someone exclaimed, "That's cracker jack!" So that's what the creators went with when they began marketing the snack food in earnest. It wasn't until 1918 that "Sailor Jack" made his first appearance on the now iconic red, white, and blue Cracker Jack box, along with his trusty mutt, Bingo. The hope was that children would come to embrace the snack that had taken baseball stadiums by storm thanks to a now-iconic name drop in the song, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Released in 1908, it went on to become one of the top 10 songs of the 20th century (via Library of Congress). 

What even die-hard Cracker Jack fans may not realize, however, is that the song was actually written from the perspective of a young woman who was "crackers" for baseball and beseeched her boyfriend to take her to a game. Parent company Frito-Lay (a subsidiary of PepsiCo), hasn't mentioned that particular tidbit in announcing the launch of Cracker Jack's new limited edition packaging as "Cracker Jill," which will be introduced at ballparks across the country come April 7 (opening day, via MLB). Nevertheless, it's a most-appropriate prologue for the reason why you'll be seeing Cracker Jill at American ballparks this summer.

Cracker Jill celebrates women in sports

The time has come for Cracker Jill, according to Frito-Lay, which announced today (via press release) the launch of five special-edition packages of Cracker Jack, each featuring a cartoon depiction of a powerful-looking sailor-suit-clad woman proudly flexing her left bicep. The new bags will be available throughout the 2022 baseball season in American professional ballparks, as well as through a donation of $5 (or more) to the Women's Sports Foundation, a not-for-profit devoted to advancing gender equity in sports. In addition, and regardless of how much money is made from the sale of Cracker Jill bags, the company has committed the sum of $200,000 to the foundation.

"Cracker Jack has been part of sports for over a century, as records were made and rules changed," said Tina Mahal, vice president, marketing, at Frito-Lay North America. "We've been so inspired by how girls and women are changing the face of the game, so in this spirit, we introduce Cracker Jill to show girls that they're represented even in our most iconic snacks." So committed is Frito-Lay and Cracker Jack to the cause of supporting women breaking barriers, both in sports and in life, that even if you don't end up making your way to a pro baseball game this summer (sampling some of the best foods you'll find in every MLB ballpark along the way), you'll be seeing a lot more of Cracker Jill in the future.