9 Famous Baseball Stadium Vendors

A good stadium vendor can make you forget that you're forking over $7.50 for 16 ounces "“ or four bites "“ of fleeting enjoyment. A bad stadium vendor can ruin your ballpark experience and your wallet. If you were to field a lineup of All-Star hawkers, you could do worse than this group.

1. Roger Owens: The Peanut Guy

The Dodger Stadium icon, who celebrated 50 years as a vendor last season, can toss bags of peanuts under his leg or behind his back to fans seated 30 rows away with uncanny accuracy. Owens' vending career began at the age of 15, when he sold soda at the L.A. Coliseum to help earn his family grocery money. By the time Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, the former high school pitcher was hawking peanuts and honing his bag-throwing skills at home. Owens began to showcase his skills in the stands and before long became known as The Peanut Guy. Owens reached celebrity status when he made his first of four appearances on The Tonight Show in September 1976. (Johnny Carson nailed himself in the crotch when he attempted an under-the-leg toss.) The next year, Jimmy Carter invited Owens to toss peanuts at his presidential inauguration festivities. Owens' celebrity has only grown since then. While he continues to delight fans in the second deck along the third base line at Dodger Stadium, Owens has taken his peanut-tossing act to stadiums throughout the country and abroad. In 2004, Owens' nephew, Daniel S. Green, published a biography of Owens, The Perfect Pitch.

2. Walter "Wally" McNeil: The Beerman

McNeil, who took a part-time job as a beer vendor at the Metrodome in 1982, is one of the few vendors to be featured on the NBC Nightly News and in an issue of Sports Illustrated. McNeil developed a huge following among Twins supporters, who came to recognize his shouts of "beer here," in part thanks to the autographed baseball cards picturing himself that he would hand out. McNeil, who worked as an operations manager for a pharmaceutical firm by day, has become a Minnesota celebrity in the 27 years that he has hawked beer during Twins, Vikings, and Golden Gophers games at the Metrodome. He has filmed commercials for local liquor stores and PSAs about the dangers of drunk driving, and if you're so inclined, you can still find his baseball card on eBay.

3. Marc Rosenberg: The Lemonade Shaking Guy

When Rosenberg agreed to work a few games at Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards as a favor for a friend in 1996, he figured he'd be working behind a counter. Instead he was charged with selling lemonade in the upper deck. Three days into the job, Rosenberg became so annoyed with kids yelling to get his attention that he put his tray down and did what any self-respecting guy in his shoes would do: he shook his body "“ violently. The fans loved it and Rosenberg adopted the shaking routine as his shtick. He became accustomed to receiving $20 tips at the ballpark and eventually parlayed his part-time diversion into a second career as a motivational speaker, auctioneer, and performer, appearing regularly at private parties and corporate functions. Rosenberg isn't the only stadium lemonade guy to start his own business: Kansas City's Jesus "Chuy" Gomez launched a concessions business in 2005 after working six years at Kauffman Stadium, where he announced his presence with distinct shouts of "Lee-mo-nade, lee-mo-nade, lee-mo-nade. Wooooo!"

4. Charley Marcuse: Opera Man

For the last 11 seasons, Charley Marcuse has sold hot dogs at Detroit Tigers home games by singing the words "hot dog" in operatic falsetto. Marcuse, who started vending at Tiger Stadium as a 19-year-old, appeared on Good Morning America in 2004 after a few stadium critics tried to silence him. Marcuse's supporters started a "Free Charley" Web site in support of the former acting student and he was eventually allowed to resume his singing routine on a limited, four-times-per-game basis. When he's not making an estimated $400 per game selling hot dogs, Marcuse works for a men's clothing retailer and continues to develop his company, Charley's Food Inc. His first product, Charley's Ballpark Mustard, debuted in 2008 and is currently available in more than 60 stores and restaurants in the Detroit area. Fans at Comerica Park won't find Marcuse's mustard at the concession stands, however, as Marcuse doesn't want to risk offending the vending company that employs him.

5. Brent Doeden: Captain Earthman

 For fans in the outfield bleachers at Denver's Coors Field, Captain Earthman is only a phone call away. The veteran beer vendor, who has been described as an "intergalactic space hippie," hands out cards with his cellphone number "“ and a Planetary Location Number to boot "“ to all of his loyal customers. Doeden, who wears peanut earrings, black gloves, and a variety of crazy hats, revealed the origins of his nickname to a Denver Post reporter in 2000. "We were all sitting around drinking, smoking about 24 years ago," Doeden said. "I ended up with a pipe in one hand and a joint in the other and a beer in front of me. And, I said, "˜If it's from the earth, man, I'll smoke it.'" The rest is history, much like the cans of Budweiser that Doeden has carried up and down the outfield bleachers of Coors Field since it opened in 1995.

6. Clarence Haskett: Fancy Clancy

 Clarence "Clancy" Haskett has sold beer and entertained fans for three decades at Orioles home games. If you're fortunate enough to get in good with Haskett "“ hint: tip early and often "“ he'll start you a tab. A Baltimore City Paper tagged along with Clancy during a game in 2004 and got to witness his signature move, a backbend over the handrail while handing out bottles of beer. As the slogan goes, "If you want it served fancy, get it from Clancy." In addition to working the local stadiums, Haskett is also vice president of All Pro Vending, a vending management company that won a contract to supply vendors for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. [Photo via Flickr user Phil Romans.]

7. Perry Hahn: Robo-Vendor

In order to make up for what he calls his lack of natural talent, Hahn put his mechanical engineering degree to good use. The University of Maryland graduate, who works at stadiums in the D.C. area, started to design a contraption to help expedite the beer opening process while working at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium in 1991. His latest version of the device sheers the lids off of two beer cans simultaneously. The Robo-Vendor, as Hahn's fans and colleagues sometimes call him, can open and pour two beers in six seconds. Hahn estimates that he spent $4,500 to develop and patent his device, which once helped him sell 25 cases during a single game. [Photo via Flickr user dontdothisathome.]

8. Dan Ferrone: A Chicago Original

 Ferrone made $2 selling soda on his first day as a vendor at Wrigley Field in 1938 and watched the Yankees sweep the Cubs in the World Series that season. For the next 57 years, Ferrone hawked soda, peanuts, beer, and programs at Chicago's baseball mecca before leaving the job late in the 1995 season. During that time, Ferrone, a military veteran who moved into the Oak Park YMCA around 1960, worked 30 years as a Postal Service employee and 11 more at a bank. He began vending full-time in 1981, working both Cubs and White Sox games for several years before eventually giving up his gig on the South Side. Ferrone sold programs at Wrigley Field in the seasons leading up to his retirement and often said he hoped to be the first vendor elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.

9. Leslie Flake: The Beer Guy

Flake tells you everything you need to know about him in his booming sales pitch. He's not the milkman. He's not the mailman. He's not the taxman. He's the beer guy, and he's been a staple at Cleveland Indians home games for years.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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Double Play: The Curious Life and Career of Ozzie Canseco

Otto Gruele, Allsport/Getty Images
Otto Gruele, Allsport/Getty Images

“Jose, we love you! Jose, you suck!” It’s 1992 in Louisville, Kentucky, and a man who bears a striking resemblance to major league home run king Jose Canseco is smashing baseballs out of Triple-A ballparks for the Louisville Redbirds, the minor league sibling of the St. Louis Cardinals.

A screen erected specifically for home runs at Pilot Field in Buffalo, New York, fails to contain one 550-foot drive. The ball goes over the screen and past the highway.

“Good job, Jose!”

Before and after games, the six-foot-two, 220-pound slugger will be asked about dating Madonna (he didn’t), antagonized into fights (he avoids them, mostly), and begged for autographs. When he signs his name, fans appear confused. They tell him to stop joking around. Doesn’t he know he’s Jose Canseco, perpetual All-Star and prolific masher of baseballs? Who ever heard of Ozzie Canseco, Jose’s identical twin, born two minutes earlier to Jose Canseco Sr. and his wife, Barbara? And if they are identical, why is it that Jose was earning millions as a member of the Oakland Athletics while Ozzie only made sporadic appearances in the majors?

Ozzie tried to explain all of these things over and over again. Every time he thought people got the message, he would head back out into the world, hearing his brother’s name. Once, a car veered and tried to run him off the road. When Ozzie hit the shoulder, the other driver laughed, as if it were a joke, and then referred to him as Jose.

 

There are relatively few examples of twins who excelled equally in sports. Ronde and Tiki Barber were both selected in the 1997 NFL Draft and had successful careers; Karyne and Sarah Steben, both accomplished gymnasts, toured with Cirque du Soleil and credited their psychological connection with helping them perform difficult aerial feats.

More often, siblings of star athletes idle in the shadows cast by their high-achieving counterparts.

Hank Aaron’s brother Tommie joined him in professional baseball. Hank hit 755 home runs during his career; Tommie connected with 13. There were three DiMaggio brothers, though it was Joe—the onetime husband of Marilyn Monroe—who stood out both on and off the field. Had any of these men looked identical to their famous brother, it would have compounded the comparisons. It’s unlikely anyone ever tried to run Tommie Aaron off the road.

Ozzie Canseco plays for the Oakland Athletics in a Major League Baseball game
Otto Gruele Jr, Getty Images

Born on July 2, 1964, Osvaldo “Ozzie” Capas Canseco and Jose Canseco would soon be another sports sibling story.

The two were barely a year old when their parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba. Both grew up learning to play "the great American pastime." Jose, an outfielder who could wallop a ball out of sight, was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1982 straight out of high school. After polishing his skills in the minor leagues for three years, he briefly debuted as a late-season call-up for the Athletics in 1985. His official rookie season came in 1986, when he went on to hit 33 home runs and knock in 117 RBIs, resulting in Rookie of the Year honors.

Ozzie, who had played as much baseball as his brother, decided to take a year for college. Instead of being a power hitter, Ozzie had gravitated toward pitching. The New York Yankees drafted him in 1983. After four largely unimpressive years on the mound in the minor leagues, he was released by the Yankees and picked up by the Oakland Athletics organization in 1986 to further develop his skills.

It amounted to a genetic experiment in sports: Two men, nearly identical in build—Jose was an inch taller and perhaps 10 pounds heavier—who played the same game for the same amount of time. In 1989, the two even suffered the exact same injury to the hamate bone in the hand. Yet it was Jose who became a sensation, earning exponentially increasing millions and stats for the Athletics and the Texas Rangers, while Ozzie struggled to get called up.

The problem, according to Ozzie, was that he had pitched for too long, refining a skill that wouldn’t pay the same dividends as an outfielder and star hitter. All those years pitching put him behind Jose and behind the game. When he was finally called up to the Athletics as an outfielder in 1990, the difference in ability when compared to Jose was obvious. After 20 homers and 67 RBIs with the Huntsville Stars farm team, he managed only a .105 batting average in nine MLB games during his first season, striking out in 10 of his 19 at-bats. Meanwhile, in 1988, Jose became the first MLB player in history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season—a feat only three players have replicated since. When Ozzie struck out in his first Athletics game, Jose hit two home runs.

 

Pundits tried to break down Ozzie’s deficiencies. Superficially, he had everything Jose had, including a powerful build that was likely bolstered by steroids. (Jose admitted to using performance-enhancing substances in his 2005 tell-all book, Juiced; Ozzie was arrested for driving in a car that contained vials of steroids during a traffic stop in 2003. Jose later told VICE that Ozzie "used the same type of steroids I used and in equal amounts.") But experts pointed out that Jose was more flexible, with a better range of motion in his swing and a faster sprint. He seemed to be more aggressive during play, too. These were subtle differences, but enough for Jose to make three World Series appearances while Ozzie toiled in the minors.

Ozzie Canseco bats for the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game
Otto Gruele Jr, Getty Images

Dejected, Ozzie headed for Japan to play for the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes to sharpen his game against different kinds of pitches. Playing for the Japanese equivalent of a farm team in Osaka, he quit midway through the season to return to the U.S. minors, joining the Louisville Redbirds, the Cardinals Triple-A team. In 1993, he got a chance to jump on the Cardinals for six uneventful games. When Bernard Gilkey came off the disabled list, Ozzie was bumped back down. In frustration, he briefly quit baseball before signing a contract with the Triple-A arm of the Milwaukee Brewers and, later, the Florida Marlins.

After being released by the Marlins in 1996, he remarked it was the first summer he had not played baseball since he was a kid. While other people may have confused him for Jose, baseball’s management did not.

 

If Ozzie was never quite his brother’s equal on the field, he found parity in other ways. For years, rumors circulated that Ozzie would show up in place of Jose for autograph signings. The two also got in nearly equivalent legal trouble for a 2001 nightclub brawl in Miami Beach that ended in probation and a civil lawsuit against both.

In what was probably their most audacious attempt to fool people, Ozzie reportedly showed up for a 2011 celebrity boxing match claiming he was Jose, who had performed in prizefights against the likes of Danny Bonaduce. Promoter Damon Feldman claimed he had paid Jose $5000 and that he was confused when Ozzie finally removed his shirt. (He lacks the bicep tattoo sported by his brother). Feldman had him escorted out and filed a complaint for breach of contract, winning a default judgment against Jose for the $5000 advance and travel expenses. Feldman later expressed doubt he had ever actually met Jose. (On Twitter, Jose Canseco denied Feldman’s claim that he had sent Ozzie in his place.)

In 2015, Ozzie was named the hitting coach for the Sioux Falls Canaries, a Double-A team in South Dakota. Not long after, he and his brother once again confused onlookers when Ozzie fooled his on-air correspondents into thinking “Jose” had arrived to film a segment for his role as an analyst for an NBC broadcast. It was a bit of levity that may have indicated that the years removed from the field had allowed Ozzie to feel more comfortable—both in his own skin and his brother’s.

It was a long time coming. Speaking to Sports Illustrated in 1994, Ozzie lamented the peculiar reality of resembling his brother in every aspect but the one that mattered to him most. “It’s difficult to explain my existence as Ozzie Canseco on a daily basis,” he said.