The purpose of this study was to survey major league baseball personnel in order to determine the prevalence, cultural distribution and factors influential in, and the level of knowledge of individuals regarding the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco usage. During the 1987 preseason/season, 25 of 26 baseball teams in the American and National Leagues participated in the survey. The players (46%) "dipped" or "chewed" more than the managers/coaches (35%) followed by the trainers (30%). Current usage of smokeless tobacco was highest among Caucasian athletes (50%) followed by Hispanic athletes (33%) and then Black athletes (30%). Among the baseball players surveyed who currently use smokeless tobacco, 58% started during the ages 18 to 22. This study indicates that although baseball personnel are fully aware of the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco usage, current use of smokeless tobacco in major league baseball is high. Additionally, baseball personnel start "dipping" or "chewing" smokeless tobacco at an early age and continue this practice for long periods.