Have you ever wondered where the high five originated? What genius came up with the idea to slap two hands together high in the air? No? Me either. But, we are about to find out.
As you know, or at least, I hope you do… one of our most popular beers is the High Five Hefe, a delicious American-style wheat beer with hints of zesty ginger and wild flower honey. With the arrival of sunny days, warmer weather, and (finally) six packs in stores, it is definitely “High Five Season”! This beer pairs well with patio-drinking, hiking trails, and sunburns. But, it turns out; high fives also pair well with one of my favorite things: baseball. High-fives, both the hand slapping and the beer, definitely compliment a leisurely afternoon watching America’s favorite pastime. While I can’t say the beer was inspired by baseball, it does taste especially good after watching a grand slam. The hand-slapping, however, does find its origin story in Dodger’s stadium.
It is 1977. The L.A. Dodgers are gearing up for the post season, facing the Houston Astros in the last regular season game of the year: October 2, 1977. It is the sixth inning. Johnnie “Dusty” Baker lines up to the plate, staring down Astros’ pitcher J.R. Richards and *SMACK* he goes deep, driving a home run up and over the wall. Nailing this pitch marks his 30th home run, making league history as the Dodgers become the first team to have four sluggers with 30 home runs in a season. The dugout goes wild. The stadium goes wild. This is a great sign for the post-season to come. And, Glenn Burke is waiting on deck, ready to greet his teammate as he rounds home plate. As Baker crosses the plate, Burke thrusts his hand in the air, as if greeting a friend in the distance. Baker, confused, but caught up the moment, slaps it. Palm to palm. The high five is born. Other origin stories or claims of origin have popped up over the years, but most are determined to be hoaxes or are preceded by this 1977 Dodger’s moment.
Do you ever do something weird when you are caught up in the moment, nervous or excited? Like, say you blurt something out in excitement and it turns out to be just a jumble of words and it makes no sense? And you just make a face and hope no one notices. (No? Me either.) Or, you are anxious about meeting someone, and they introduce themselves and you shake their hand weird or with the wrong hand? Well….that is exactly what happened here. Someone got a little too enthusiastic, did a weird thing with their hands, and 40 years later, we are all still doing it. We even named a beer after it. And I love it.