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A college professor is working on a long-term scientific experiment when a baseball comes through the window, destroying all of his glassware and spilling the fluids that the flasks and test tubes contained. The pooled fluids combine to form the (fictitious) chemical "methylethylpropylbutyl," which then covers a large portion of the baseball. The professor soon discovers that the fluid, along with any object with which it makes contact, is repelled by wood (cf. Alexander Fleming's serendipitous discovery of penicillin).Suddenly, he realizes the possibilities and takes a leave of absence to go to St. Louis to pitch in the big leagues, where he becomes a star and propels his team to the World Series.