Why do baseball and American football players smear black stuff under their eyes?

Before the game, players apply a stripe of “eye black” grease under each eye to reduce glare from the sun and stadium lights. This makes it easier to track the ball in midair.

Eye black is also common in baseball and lacrosse. In fact, one of the first people to wear it was Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth began the trend back in the ’30s but the first scientific analysis didn’t turn up until 2003. Since then, a few small studies have tackled the topic.

The MythBusters even did their own test. While eye black does not appear to reduce glare, it does improve the ability to differentiate between light and dark.

The dark fur around the eyes of a meerkat, a sort of African mongoose, works just like a football player’s eye black: reducing glare as it scans the skies for threats. 


Picture Credit : Google