Ballplayers lagged behind in making the switch. Besides the utility of a little extra spit, many players were suspicious of smoking. Several trainers blamed fatigue and hitting slumps on cigarettes. The sudden decline of former batting champion and career .308 hitter Michael "King" Kelly —he hit just .189 in 1892 and was only able to play 78 games—was attributed to his longtime habit of smoking while patrolling the outfield. The rate of smokeless tobacco use among ballplayers did start to decline in the early 20th century, but change was slow. There was even a resurgence of the practice starting in the late-1960s, after the federal government began touting the dangers of cigarettes . Smokeless-tobacco makers jumped on the opportunity by placing free tins of dip—a more refined product that doesn't require chewing—in major league clubhouses. A 1999 study found that 31 percent of the league's rookies used smokeless tobacco, compared with percent of American males.
For the track and field athlete, the swimmer, the cyclist, etcetera, there may be a handful of people who make any real money from the sport. For argument’s sake, let’s say that 10 male sprinters in the world make enough money to live comfortably as athletes. The pressure to be one of those 10 becomes extremely high. I don’t know what cycling earnings looked like before Lance, but I can assume there were a small number of guys making real cash doing it. So what happens? A couple guys use, and they go to the top, so now everyone has to do it, or they face obscurity in an already obscure sport.