For eager fans, April’s arrival only means one thing — the start of the Major League Baseball season. In this episode of the podcast, we hear from people who have baseball in their blood.
We begin with the intense competition that takes places in every ballpark, right in front of you, but not on the field. In stands across the country, vendors roam the stadiums with cases of hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, soda, and beer, competing with each other to be the top salesperson. And one of the all-time greats is Clarence Haskett.
Known to Baltimore Orioles fans as “Fancy Clancy,” he has worked the crowds for 43 years, having started at an age when he was too young to legally sell alcohol. But once he was old enough, Clancy began selling beer, the vendor’s most prized offering, and during his illustrious career, he has sold more than a million cups to baseball fans in Baltimore — a Hall of Fame worthy-number.
Clancy sat down with Jerry Collier, a former fellow beer vendor to talk about his work.
Our second story deals with another competition that takes place far from the diamond. Anthony D’Andrea grew up in the shadows of the old Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. While he didn’t have the money to attend games, he was often part of the crowd of kids outside the stadium looking for autographs from players as they arrived before the game.
Anthony came to StoryCorps with his daughters, Monica McInerney and Mary D’Andrea, to share the strategy he used during the 1943 season to get the entire Yankee team to sign his baseball.
While the start of the season offers hope for so many, the end of a season — for the fans of all but one team — is often filled with disappointment and despair.
In the 1950s, fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who during that decade lost in three World Series to the hated Yankees, knew disappointment all too well. Our final two stories come from Harvey Sherman, a life-long Dodgers fan. Harvey remembers listening with his school friends on a transistor radio as Bobby Thompson hit one of the most famous home runs in baseball history — the shot heard ‘round the world that clinched the 1951 pennant for the New York Giants and devastated Dodgers fans. And later, he recalls being part of a small number of fans that turned up on September 24, 1957, at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, to witness the team’s final game before they moved to Los Angeles. In that story, you’ll hear the official Dodgers theme song played by the Ebbets Field organist, Gladys Gooding.