Vendi Vidi Vici: An Interview with A’s Vendor Hal the Hot Dog Guy

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As you may recall, the Uni Watch Classic Cap got some TV exposure last week when a hot dog vendor was shown wearing it during an A’s game.

The TV broadcasters identified the vendor as “Hal the Hot Dog Guy.” I put a note on the site the next day, inviting Hal to get in touch with me — and he did!

After confirming that Hal really was who he claimed to be, I asked if he’d be willing to do a phone interview. He readily agreed. Here’s how our conversation went:

Uni Watch: First, tell me a little bit about yourself. How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living when you’re not selling hot dogs?

Hal the Hot Dog Guy: I’m 31, I live in San Francisco, and I’m a Ph.D. grad student at Cal-Berkeley, getting a degree in environmental economics.

UW: How did you get into vending?

HtHDG: I started vending between high school and college in Chicago, where I grew up. I needed a summer job, and I knew another kid in my high school who vended. I said, “How can I get that job?” And he said, “Here, call this phone number,” which was the number for a union. So I called and I said I wanted to vend, and they said, “Alright, show up at this warehouse in two weeks.” My first game I think it was like 40 degrees out there, and I was selling Pepsi. I must have made about $20.

So I did that for a few summers, for the Cubs and White Sox. My first year was 2005, which was the year the White Sox won the World Series. That was exciting.

UW: How long have you been a vendor for the A’s?

HtHDG: I lived in DC for a while and kept vending at Nats games, and occasionally for the Orioles. Then I moved here for grad school, and I started vending at Giants and A’s games in 2016.

UW: Have you always had this high-profile persona, for lack of a better term?

HtHDG: The A’s have real low attendance. So they went to the vending company and said, “We want to do something that’s more entertaining for the fans, even if it’s not necessarily as money-making.” They’d seen some YouTube videos of a hot dog vendor in Cleveland or something who went around with all these condiments, and he’d act all ridiculous in this old-timey red-and-white striped outfit. So the A’s said, “Just give us something like that. Don’t worry about making money. Just create a good fan experience.”

So they went to this guy named Jim, who’s the oldest vendor here and asked him to set it up. And I guess he’d spotted something ridiculous in me. Like, “Oh, you’d be a good lunatic to do this.” That was about two-and-a-half years ago.

UW: So before that, your vending style was more conventional? But then you were told be more performative?

HtHDG: Yeah, exactly, exactly. But doing this has been the most fun I’ve ever had vending.

UW: I can tell just from talking with you, I can hear it your voice, that they got the right guy. You have the right attitude for this!

HtHDG: Well, like I said, Jim had spotted something in me, that I was ridiculous enough to try something like this.

UW: And what was your response when they asked you to do this?

HtHDG: It seemed like something different. And the idea of enhancing the fan experience was intriguing to me. My favorite book as a kid was Bill Veeck’s Veeck as in Wreck, and I always loved his approach. He’d do things that were a little silly, so people would laugh and have fun, and that’s sort of my philosophy. One of my favorite things to do is — when I started, I’d yell about hot dogs, leading chants like “Let’s eat hot dogs!” instead of “Let’s go Oakland!”

My new favorite chant is, I’ll stand at the front the section and yell, “Gimme an A!” And everyone yells, “A!” Then, “What’s that spell? A’s!” People laugh and stuff.

And you know, the usual thing with vending is that you want to sell quickly. You’re paid by commission and you want to sell as fast as you can. But the way I work now, with all the chants and these condiments —

UW: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. I’m used to the hot dog vendor just giving me a packet of mustard and kinda glaring at me if I ask for two packets.

HtHDG: Exactly. But instead of packets, we actually have Heinz bottles of mustard, ketchup —

UW: When you say “we,” do you mean just you and Jim? Or all of the A’s hot dog vendors?

HtHDG: Jim and I are really the only hot dog vendors in the stadium. You can buy a hot dog at the stand, but we’re the only ones vending in the seats. Again, the A’s don’t draw well — last night there were maybe 8,000 people in the entire stadium.

The way Jim and I work, it’s a different kind of vendor experience. Usually you show up, they hand you your food, and you go out there. But we get there early, we make the hot dogs ourselves, make sure all our relish, sauerkraut, and onions are ready to go. And when we walk around, we don’t actually make that many sales. But we talk to a lot of people. And a lot of the old regulars there, they know us and they’ll have their hot dog order ready to go.

UW: But if you’re making fewer sales, are you earning less money?

HtHDG: Well, I don’t want to go into specifics, but I don’t work on commission. I get a flat fee for every game. And the fans still tip.

UW: From seeing that TV clip of you, I get the impression that you’re pretty famous, at least among A’s fans. The TV guys talked about you as if they knew you. Are you friends with them, or is just one of those things where they know you because you’re famous in the ballpark?

HtHDG: It’s just because I’m famous in the ballpark. Maybe I’ll try and contact them and see if they’ll have me up in the booth for an interview or something. But yeah, a lot of the fans know me. One thing I did this year, I went to the Topps website, and you can make your own baseball cards there. So I had a photo of myself vending hot dogs and had that made into some baseball cards, which I’ll hand out to people.

UW: That’s awesome! Do they ask you to autograph it?

HtHDG: Yeah, I had to start bringing Sharpies with me! It’s all pretty ridiculous, right? You’re asking for an autograph from some schlub who walks around and sells hot dogs. But it’s fun. [After our interview, Hal mailed me one of his cards. But he didn’t autograph it! Dang. — PL]

Here’s another autograph story: I tore my ACL two years ago playing soccer and had surgery in the offseason. The doctor in Berkeley had all kinds of signed photos of Pac-12 collegiate athletes in his office, so the last time I visited, I brought a framed signed picture of me vending as a joke. Six months later, some woman comes up to me at the Coliseum and says, “I work in a surgeon’s office and there’s a picture of you selling hot dogs on the wall next to the football players.” Bill Veeck would be proud.

I should say here that while I might get on TV a bit more, Jim is the brains and the heart behind the operation, making sure we have presentable-looking condiment bottles every homestand — the labels start looking awful after a week or so — making sure everything is up to health code. He is a true Bay Area vending legend in my book. Fans at Giants games recognize him going back 35 years.

UW: I notice you say, “vending” and “vend” and “vended” a lot. Never “selling”; always “vending.”

HtHDG: The industry standard is to refer to ourselves as vendors and the action as vending. I would only use the word sell in the sentence, “How much did you sell last night?” Or “What product did you sell last night?” But I would never say, “I was selling at the Giants game last night.” You would always say “I vended last night.” To me, selling is generic, but vending is the trade or craft of running up and down stairs selling food or beer in a stadium.

UW: How long have you been a Uni Watch reader?

HtHDG: Probably eight or nine years.

UW: I assume you don’t wear a Uni Watch cap for every single game. How do you usually handle your headwear, and how did the Uni Watch cap become part of the rotation?

HtHDG: When Jim and I started doing this, we had really janky uniforms. They gave us those paper hats, which have that old-timey look. But once you start sweating in those, they start disintegrating. And there’s also no brim for day games.

So last year I started wearing A’s hats. And then when you guys started selling the Uni Watch hats, I was like, “You know, those are A’s colors.” And the [winged stirrup] looks a lot like one of the old White Sox logos, so it has those Chicago roots for me. So I got that over the winter, and I also got a Chicago Dogs hat — which I learned about from Uni Watch!

So now I have three or four hats, and I just grab one as I’m walking out the door.

UW: So you had worn the Uni Watch hat prior to the game when they showed you wearing it on TV?

HtHDG: Yeah, that was probably like the third time.

UW: Did any of your customers recognize it?

HtHDG: I think one person said, “Nice Uni Watch hat.” Most people thought it was an old A’s hat, especially since it’s the old wool style. Like, “What year is that from?”

UW: Do your bosses care what kind of hat you wear?

HtHDG: Not really. At one point they told us to wear a plain black hat, so I did that for one game. My philosophy in general is, ask for forgiveness, not for permission.

UW: What about the rest of your outfit? When I saw you on TV wearing the Uni Watch cap, you were also wearing a striped vest and a necktie! What’s that all about?

HtHDG: When we started doing this, they gave us these striped vests so we’d look like an old-timey hot dog guy.

UW: An old Nathan’s guy.

HtHDG: Yeah, exactly! Anyway, the vending company must have gone to a costume shop or something, and gotten these two red-and-white striped vests. There were really thin, all polyester. Definitely not built to handle a guy running up and down stairs with 50 pounds of hot dogs. So they started fraying immediately. And we had white polo shirts underneath the vests.

So then Jim, who’s always trying to make sure we look good and classy, he knew this old guy who makes custom shoes and clothing. Usually high-end stuff, for really rich clients. But we walked in there and said, “We want custom hot dog vendor vests.” So he made them for us from scratch. It’s pretty cool — years from now, when I no longer live here and I’m no longer vending, I’m sure I’ll still have that vest. The only drawback is it’s really thick, so it’s a sweat machine during day games.

So then we had these fancy vests — and we’re gonna wear the same white polo shirts underneath them? I think a fan gave Jim a green and yellow bow tie last year, so Jim got a short-sleeved white dress shirt and began wearing the bow tie with it. And of course that made me look like a schlub, so I went on eBay and found an A’s tie for eight bucks and started wearing that. So now that’s become part of the thing.

UW: What about pants and shoes — anything special there, or just standard-issue apparel?

HtHDG: Standard-issue. But we did do one other cool thing, which was we went back to the same tailor and had nametags put on the vests.

UW: Yeah, I saw yours. It almost looks like it was written in mustard — was that the idea?

HtHDG: No. Since I’m Hal, and I’m at school at Cal, I doctored the Cal logo to make it say Hal. Most people don’t notice, but if I point it out, then they can tell.

UW: Ahhh, Hal from Cal. Nice. Have you ever vended at Cal?

HtHDG: A few times at their football games, yup.

UW: If you’re a longtime Uni Watch reader, you may recall that I like putting capers on my hot dog. Any chance that you might add capers to your topping options, at least when you’re wearing the Uni Watch hat?

HtHDG: Yeah, I did see that! For condiments, we normally have bottles of ketchup, mustard, and relish. And those bins that we keep on top, I think they’re older than I am. They’re remnants from Candlestick. In there we have onions, sauerkraut, and jalapeños. And the reason we picked those is that that’s what they had at the ballpark.

UW: I will personally reimburse you if you get capers.

HtHDG: Just for you, I will go out and — you know, we’ve been trying to come up with other things. Just the other day I brought a bottle of Sriracha with me. So for our next homestand [which begins on May 7], I will get a small thing of capers and I will ask people, “Do you want capers on your hot dog?” And I will report back.

UW: I encourage you to try it yourself and see how good it is, so you can say to them, “You know what, I’ve tried it and it’s not bad!”

HtHDG: Well, that’s the other big secret about me being a hot dog vendor, which is that I’m also a vegetarian. So I don’t eat the hot dogs! But I will go out and buy my favorite veggie dog, grill it up, and put capers on it. And if I like it, I will then attest to people that putting capers on a hot dog is delicious.

UW [cracking up]: Fantastic. You can wear the Uni Watch hat and say the guy whose hat it is made you do it.

HtHDG: Exactly. “So this hat is from this blog you haven’t heard of, and he saw me wearing it, and then I called him, and then he told me to get capers, and now I’m telling you to put capers on your hot dog. You want ’em? No? Okay, never mind.”

———

Oh, man — was that the best interview ever or what? Hal has really found his calling. When he eventually gets his degree, it may be environmental economics’ gain, but it will definitely be vending’s and baseball’s loss.

But wait — there’s more. A lot more. As I usually do toward the end of an interview, I asked Hal if he could send me a decent photo or two of himself. He responded two days later with a Dropbox folder packed with photos, most of which he described or explained in an accompanying email. Many of the descriptions were uni-related, so I’m going to show them here. In each case, I’m posting the photo (which you can click to enlarge) followed by Hal’s description of it. Here we go:

“This is from my rookie year, Game Two of the 2005 World Series. We normally wore standard Sox hats, but during the World Series they gave us a hat with a special World Series logo on it, although it’s a little hard to see in the photo. The guy in front of me is my dad, a huge White Sox fan.”

———

“I worked a few playoff games in Baltimore. I did like that unlike most places that had us wear high-vis yellow, Baltimore had us wear orange, which made us harder to spot but felt more like a sports uniform.”

———

“For Caps games, we wore ref’s uniforms. The mostly disappointing part of this uniform was the hat, which had the logo of the Verizon Center. The other story of this uniform was every time someone saw me coming home from a game, they asked me if I was a ref. But when my black vendor friends were going home, people always asked them if they worked at Foot Locker.”

———

“Caps Winter Classic, Jan. 1, 2015. When you’re vending, you’re running around, so if it’s 40 degrees out, you can still wear short sleeves, whereas the fans are sitting still and drinking, so they’re freezing.”

———

“Jim and I were about to head out for Opening Day 2018. This is our prep station, where we go back and refill our condiment bottles and trays and get more of everything. Each reload takes probably 10 minutes since there is so much to bring and refill, which is an eternity in vending. Notice we still have the clown vests (the good vests had been ordered but weren’t ready yet). This was the first time I wore a baseball hat, and I chose an Oakland Oaks hat. I thought that would be a nice way to capture the retro feeling of the hot dog man service, and also the colors went with the candy-striped vest. Very few people recognized what the hat was, however, so I switched to an A’s hat eventually.”

———

“That’s my dad again in the Northwestern hat. Here you can see I’m wearing the fancy custom-made vest, not the old clown vest.”

———

“This is from Cal Stanford night, 2018, which explains the hats. That’s my fiancée next to me in the Stanford sweatshirt. She just graduated from law school there.”

———

“This is from July 4, 2018. I wore a blue undershirt underneath the striped vest, so I’d look like a giant American flag.”

———

“Here’s a closer look at the vest. After a homestand it is covered in mustard stains, which are getting harder and harder to get out. The tailor — Al, whose shop is called Al’s Attire — did an amazing job. There are pockets and you can see that he used red trim around the armholes, plus the stripes line up along the seams, which is really cool. Also, Al puts unique tags inside each garment he makes.”

“We also ordered custom straps from Al, and he put our names on those too.”

———

Paul here. And we’re still not done, because Hal also sent me a bunch of video clips from his various TV appearances. They’re all short but very, very sweet. Enjoy:

———

Okay — now we’re finally done. I don’t mind saying that this is one of the most enjoyable Uni Watch entries I’ve ever worked on, which means Hal has enhanced my fan experience — from 3,000 miles away. Thanks, buddy!

• • • • •

• • • • •

Bling thing redux: Two days I wrote about how heavily jewelried Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo broke one of his necklaces while running the bases. Last night he had the same thing happen while attempting to catch a fly ball at the wall. Check out this video clip:

Verdugo now clearly leads the league in bling mishaps, which is one of those advanced metrics everyone talks about these days.

(Big thanks to Mike Chamernik for this one.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

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Another great cap: Last week I showed you the cap for a Uni Watch reader’s beer league team, the Oakland Beers. Now another reader, Drew McNeil, has shared a photo of the hat for his sandlot team, the Tulsa City Saturns. Love that design! Drew says the caps were made for the team by Ebbets Field Flannels — nice!

• • • • •

• • • • •

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Jeopardy! Watch: Like many Americans, I’ve taken an interest in James Holzhauer, the game show dynamo who’s quickly rewriting the book on Jeopardy! Aside from his impressive winning streak, I’m fascinated, and a bit disturbed, by his attire. He usually wears a V-neck sweater — with nothing underneath it (or if he does have a base layer, it too is a V-neck), so his upper chest is left exposed. Who wears a V-neck sweater that way? A V-neck tee, maybe, but a sweater? It’s like when a baseball player doesn’t have an undershirt — weird.

For reasons I can’t fully explain, this makes me antsy. Part of it is that I have a lot of chest hair in that spot, so if I wore a V-neck sweater like Holzhauer does, I’d have a rich forest of hair spilling forth for all to see — or else I’d have to shave it. Which raises the question: Does Holzhauer shave his chest? Or maybe he waxes? Or Nairs? Or some other depilatory method?

If I appeared on Jeopardy! and was going up against Holzhauer, I’d be half-beaten before the show even started, just because I’d be weirded out by the V-neck. And given the degree of gamesmanship he clearly displays in other facets of the game, it’s not unreasonable to ask: Is the V-neck just another way of fucking with his opponents? If so, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Since this is Uni Watch, here’s a photo of Holzhauer in a Vegas Golden Knights jersey.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Design contest reminder: In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch is teaming up with the Portland Pickles — that’s a college wood bat summer team — for a contest to design the Pickles’ “Future Baseball Night” jersey, which will be worn on July 4. There’s a $150 cash prize for the winning designer, along with a free futuristic jersey.

Entry deadline is tomorrow, May 3. Full details on the contest rules and entry requirements, along with the full scoop on what “Future Baseball Night” will entail, can be found here.

• • • • •

• • • • •

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

LAST CALL for this week’s raffle: Our friends at longtime Uni Watch advertiser Vintage Brand are once again letting me run a raffle for a lucky Uni Watch reader. The winner will be able to choose any item from the Vintage Brand website (including the canvas print of a Cubs program cover shown above).

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 7pm ET today. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Friday.

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Little League World Series uniforms, which for the past few decades have been made by Russell Athletic, will now be made by Adidas. … Red Sox C Christian Vásquez wore eye red, instead of eye black, yesterday (from Alex Smolokoff). … The Triple-A Charlotte Knights showed solidarity with yesterday morning’s UNC Charlotte shooting victims by wearing green caps — the UNC Charlotte’s team color — for yesterday’s game against the Gwinnett Stripers (from James Gilbert). … The Rangers wore red jerseys and caps yesterday, but C Jeff Mathis wore blue catcher’s gear (from @JBeck132). … Phillies players Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins traded jerseys with Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz. … Here’s a Padres uni tracker up through the end of April (from @PadsUniTracker). … Here’s the cap patch that the Angels — and presumably also the Astros — will wear for their Mexico Series games this weekend (from Arthur Kinney). … There’s a lot going on in this photo of a Tennessee Smokies player. His uni number is badly off-center, he appears to have a memorial patch above his NOB (very odd place for that), and the color of his nameplate doesn’t quite match the color of his jersey (from Derek Brownlee). … Mets SS Amed Rosario came to bat last night wearing a metallic-toned gold elbow guard. Never seen him, or any other Met, wearing that before. … Nats P Dan Jennings hasn’t worn No. 43 since he was with the Rays in 2017 — he now wears No. 26 for the Nats — but still has 43 on his glove. He apparently wore it last season when he wore No. 38 for the Brewers, too (from Ryan Bowman and @champagnedirky). … One of the Mr. Redlegs figures that were recently positioned on benches around Cincinnati was vandalized (thanks, Brinke).

NFL News: New draft-class uni numbers for the Bengals and Falcons (thanks, Phil). … We already knew that the NFL 100 logo will be appearing on jersey collars and rear helmet shells this season. Now, thanks to a Madden screen shot, we can see that it will also be appearing on the pants. Not a surprise, but it’s good to have confirmation (from Clint Richardson). … If you’ve ever wondered what a Steelers helmet would look like with a yellow facemask, here you go. … The Bengals had newly drafted TE Drew Sample pose with a jersey with an upside-down 6 instead of a proper 9. You can tell from the drop shadows (from Tony Theobald). … Former Washington QB Joe Theismann has given the team’s newly drafted QB, Dwayne Haskins, permission to wear No. 7. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Eagles QB Carson Wentz traded jerseys with Philadelphia Phillies players Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. … If you look at this Instagram post showing Panthers rookies with their new jerseys, you can see that two of them have the NFL 100 logo on the collar, but one of them doesn’t (from Nathan Applebaum). … A Bengals fan thinks head coach Zac Taylor’s draft day attire left a lot to be desired (from K.C. Kless).

Hockey News: Here’s a rare treat: a hockey rink with no ads on the ice. That’s the home ice of the Shreveport Mudbugs of the NAHL. “They had ads and logos on the ice all season,” says @BusLeagueHockey, so it’s not clear why they’ve now disappeared.

Basketball News: New Jersey Devils P.A. announcer Kevin Clark, who I wrote about two months ago, is also an artist. Back in 1997, he was hired to create this artwork for the 76ers’ media guide. It was going to be the team’s first season wearing that uniform, so they loaned him a prototype uniform to use as visual reference. “I just thought it was really cool at the time that I had possession of these items and nobody even knew what the uniforms were going to look like yet. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos.” Also unfortunate: The Sixers decided not to use his cover art and instead went with a different design. … Robert Morris’s new arena is ready to open (from Jim Vilk).

Soccer News: New uniforms for Stoke City (from Josh Hinton). … New throwback keeper’s kit for Bayer 04 Leverkusen (from Ed Zelaski). … Also from Ed: New home kit for Celtic. … Man U apparently has a 1999 throwback in the works (thanks, Phil). … The first 3,000 fans at Saturday’s Las Vegas Lights FC game will receive a Mexican wrestling cape (Josh Hinton again). … Also from Josh: Borussia Dortmund’s new kit has leaked. … And one more from Josh: West Ham has extended its kit deal with Umbro.

Grab Bag: New York City is banning alcohol ads (NYT link) on city property. … New logo for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. … Apple is claiming that the logo for a German cycling path infringes on the company’s trademarked logo. … Yesterday’s Ticker mentioned that this year’s SI swimsuit issue will feature, for the first time, a model wearing a burkini and a hijab. Here’s an interesting analysis of that development (WaPo link). … Speaking of SI, it appears that their days as a print magazine may be numbered. … The teams at Council Bluffs-Jefferson High School in Iowa are called the Yellow Jackets, but their colors do not include yellow. Scroll through the responses to that tweet to see similar examples. … New helmet for Fox Racing, one of the best-known motocross brands (from John Flory). … Aussie football news: Hawthorn’s new high-profile recruit, Chad Wingard, sometimes likes to wear long sleeves, but Hawthorn has a “No long sleeves” policy (from James MacNeil).

93 comments to Vendi Vidi Vici: An Interview with A’s Vendor Hal the Hot Dog Guy

  • DenverGregg | May 2, 2019 at 8:14 am |

    the Jeopardy! dude’s name is spelled Holzhauer

    • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 8:18 am |

      Huh. I really thought it had a u, not an o. Fixed!

  • Dave | May 2, 2019 at 8:28 am |

    Actually, I just learned the other day that having an undershirt show under a V-Neck anything is a fashion No-No… I’m not making this up. I had never heard that before. Maybe it’s a “new” thing like those ridiculous low crotch pants. Hey, let’s make it MORE difficult to walk.

    We had a vendor at my local minor league park for years who would scream MALTS!–MALTS!– HEY!– IT’S DAMN HOT OUT HERE! WHO WANTS SOME ICE CREAM!!!

    • Q | May 2, 2019 at 9:04 am |

      Lol yea it looks tacky to have an under shirt showing under a V neck to me. I wear a wife beater OR if its a high cut v neck u might be able to get away with a t shirt underneath.

      • TIm | May 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm |

        Ha! It looks “tacky” so I wear a “wife beater”. LOL!

    • Dumb Guy | May 2, 2019 at 10:02 am |

      Not supposed to show your underwear.
      That’s a fashion law.

    • DenverGregg | May 2, 2019 at 10:52 am |

      one could – subject to anatomical constraints of course – do as I do and wear a beard long enough to conceal the open collar

      • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 10:54 am |

        Gregg, you’ve been a presence on the site for many, many years now, but I have no idea what you look like, and somehow it never would’ve occurred to me that you have a long beard!

        Internet relationships are so weird.

        • DenverGregg | May 2, 2019 at 11:26 am |

          there was a picture of me on the blog nine years ago last month in a custom jersey for a fantasy baseball team, the Paisanos, but that’s when my beard was short (and not white yet). I do Santa appearances for charity and am an all natural Santa – real beard, real belly

        • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 11:27 am |

          My bad for not remembering that photo!

  • Lindy | May 2, 2019 at 8:33 am |

    Can we get a Hal the Hot Dog Guy Uni Watch T-shirt?! Or bobble head, tongs, cap, vest…so many possibilities. I also hope he creates a membership card using his vendor vest.

  • BurghFan | May 2, 2019 at 8:35 am |

    Obviously, Hal is a celebrity of sorts at A’s games. Is he just another vendor at Giants games? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Nice interview.)

  • Memal | May 2, 2019 at 8:39 am |

    Great interview!!! Loved everything Hal shared, especially how he copied the Cal font for his name on his vest.

  • MJ | May 2, 2019 at 8:40 am |

    Having chest hair myself (most of the time, but I take the clippers to it), there’s ALWAYS a crew neck under my V-neck sweaters. Usually in an appropriate contrasting color.

  • Ralph from Windfall | May 2, 2019 at 8:51 am |

    Great interview with Hal the Hot Dog Guy!

    Apple: nope, sorry. There’s no way I would confuse that logo with yours.

  • Julie | May 2, 2019 at 8:54 am |

    Great interview with Hal! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • DarenL | May 2, 2019 at 1:28 pm |

      Agreed. That was a wonderful interview. Thanks for providing it Paul!

  • Mike W. | May 2, 2019 at 9:00 am |

    http://www.yoccos.com/

    You used “The Hot Dog King” in your article! Yocco’s is from where I grew up and are still my favorite. Even though I live 15 minutes from Hot Dog Johnny’s. https://hotdogjohnny.com/store/

    • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 9:03 am |

      Love both of those places (but I mourn the loss of the Liberty St. Yocco’s outlet in Allentown).

      • Mike W. | May 2, 2019 at 9:10 am |

        Yes, that one was the best.

    • Andrew Sterlachini | May 2, 2019 at 2:57 pm |

      Don’t forget Jimmy Dog’s too!!!

  • Marc | May 2, 2019 at 9:01 am |

    The Braves AAA team is the Gwinnett Stripers, not the Braves – name changed in 2018

  • Dominic DeNunzio | May 2, 2019 at 9:02 am |

    What a fantastic interview! Great entry Paul, thanks for the read!

  • Blake Pass | May 2, 2019 at 9:06 am |

    Gwinnett Braves should be Gwinnett Stripers.

    • Blake Pass | May 2, 2019 at 9:07 am |

      NM…Marc beat me to it!

  • El Lobo | May 2, 2019 at 9:07 am |

    I could watch that clip of Hal and the big head Dennis Eckersley dancing, with the other big head guys joining the party later, all day.

  • Joel Petty | May 2, 2019 at 9:25 am |

    Alvin, Texas High School also is called the Yellowjackets, yet their colors are burnt orange and white. Always thought that was strange.

  • Mark Graban | May 2, 2019 at 9:35 am |

    Does he shave his chest? Some of us just don’t have hairy chests, of course.

    • Pedro N | May 2, 2019 at 4:50 pm |

      Same here, can’t relate, next chest hair will be my first.

  • GM | May 2, 2019 at 9:36 am |

    That interview was really fun! I’m also happy there was a photo of Jim. I’ll definitely have my eyes out for both, the next time I go to a game. I’ll even try capers on my dog, if he has them.

  • Robert Ullman | May 2, 2019 at 9:38 am |

    What a great day for Uni Watch. A joy to read, stem to stern!

    FWIW, I don’t have any chest hair beyond a few embarrassing smatterings, so I could totally wear a V-neck sweater in the same manner as Holzhauer. Of course, I never WOULD, as I’m not a psychopath.

  • Mats Westfeld | May 2, 2019 at 9:41 am |

    Fuck Apple for this. Those POS aren’t paying taxes but now want to sue a damn CYCLING ROUTE? This is patently ridiculous, pun intended!

    • mike 2 | May 2, 2019 at 1:48 pm |

      I agree with that, but the examples they give are of a v-neck that’s cut down to nipple height. That’s tacky.

  • RICKAZ | May 2, 2019 at 10:00 am |

    I like the v-neck sweater with no undershirt, but I usually wear one for layering warmth. I will say I prefer a very small drop of the v instead of a plunging neckline. There was also a Seinfeld episode that mentioned it was a waste of a good shirt to wear it under a sweater and just show the collar.

  • Super Guts | May 2, 2019 at 10:04 am |

    Re: Adidas doing Little League.

    I guess we aren’t seeing Rainbow Guts or Beach Blanket jerseys this year?

  • Clown Werdl | May 2, 2019 at 10:05 am |

    Honk Honk

  • Jim Howicz | May 2, 2019 at 10:06 am |

    Very strong blog today! Loved the Hot Dog vendor story.

    • Eltee of DC | May 2, 2019 at 11:04 am |

      Paul,

      A Home Run of an interview… more of these please.

      Hooray for Hal the Hot Dog Vendor, a little spice with my dog please.

  • Dumb Guy | May 2, 2019 at 10:09 am |

    I’ll stick with my dickies, thank you very much.

  • LI Matt | May 2, 2019 at 10:11 am |

    I was at the Mets game on Saturday. Not only was Rosario wearing the gold elbow guard, he used a bat of the same color.

  • John H. | May 2, 2019 at 10:16 am |

    Sad what’s happening with SI. I had a subscription for 30 years before giving it up a couple of years ago, not long before it went bi-weekly. I almost feel a tad responsible.

    On another subject; it drives me crazy how there is no uniformity in how baseball players wear their uniforms. The prevailing frat boy mentality in MLB is only one of the many aspects of the current game that has lost me as a fan.

  • Bud | May 2, 2019 at 10:20 am |

    Meant to send this in last night, but the White Sox and Orioles played a double header yesterday; first game was Black (Sox) vs gray (O’s), second game was white (Sox) vs black (O’s.). But in the second game, the O’s paired their black jersey with their regular road hat, I believe for the first time ever:

    http://www.trbimg.com/img-5cca4f84/turbine/bs-sp-orioles-live-portal-wednesday-white-sox-20190429

  • Chris Ashley | May 2, 2019 at 10:30 am |

    In the Carolina Panthers photos, the two with the 100 logo are the new jersey for 2019 they they’ve been teasing. The other is last year’s jersey. Did they just leak their own jerseys?

    • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 10:35 am |

      Maybe I’m missing something, but what’s new about it other than the collar logo?

      • Chris Ashley | May 2, 2019 at 10:36 am |

        Shoulder stripes look different to me

        • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 10:41 am |

          They’ve always had differing shoulder stripe formats for different tailoring cuts. Look at Cam Newton compared to, say, a linebacker.

  • Lou | May 2, 2019 at 10:40 am |

    “HtHDG: Exactly. “So this hat is from this blog you haven’t heard of, and he saw me wearing it, and then I called him, and then he told me to get capers, and now I’m telling you to put capers on your hot dog. You want ’em? No? Okay, never mind.””

    That has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever read. Thanks for brightening my day!

  • Jessica | May 2, 2019 at 10:49 am |

    I love when you cover human interest stories like this! Thanks for your work.

  • Clarybird | May 2, 2019 at 11:09 am |

    I love that Tulsa City Saturns hat, but the laces are going in the wrong direction. Erik Spoonmore, are you out there, somewhere?

  • Lee | May 2, 2019 at 11:10 am |

    I find this fascinating… and frankly slightly discouraging: “The other story of this uniform was every time someone saw me coming home from a game, they asked me if I was a ref. But when my black vendor friends were going home, people always asked them if they worked at Foot Locker.”

    Lee

  • Jet | May 2, 2019 at 11:24 am |

    Here’s a video from one of the many brawls in the 1971 Rangers-Maple Leafs playoff series.

    Beginning at 1:45 you get a decent view of Paul Henderson’s helmet with football face mask to protect his broken jaw.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdwqQJL5zmg

    -Jet

  • dave t robb | May 2, 2019 at 11:24 am |

    Not just any old Oakland Oaks hat for our hot dog vendor. Looks to be a beautiful EFF model.

  • Ran Isaacs | May 2, 2019 at 11:40 am |

    As a Miamian, it’s natural to wear a v-neck with your hamburger meat struttin’ out. The only thing missing is a chain to outline and possibly complement(with a pendant or so) the area.

  • Chance Michaels | May 2, 2019 at 11:45 am |

    Love this interview. Thanks!

  • jacket18 | May 2, 2019 at 11:49 am |

    Proofreading today’s lede:

    “…and I selling Pepsi…” – missing ‘was’?

    “So last year Iast year I started…” – repeated ‘last year’, plus a typo

    • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 12:00 pm |

      Got ’em. Thanks!

  • Scott | May 2, 2019 at 12:08 pm |

    The gold facemask on the Steelers helmet looks awful.

    • Jim Vilk | May 2, 2019 at 2:02 pm |

      Au contraire, mon frere…that’s nice.

      Makes me wonder what a yellow face mask would look like with the old yellow helmet!

    • Rydell | May 2, 2019 at 7:59 pm |

      Yellow not gold. That may help the eyes. Two completely different colors. Yellow is yellow. Gold is gold. Steelers are yellow. Penguins are yellow. Golden Nights are gold.

      • BurghFan | May 2, 2019 at 9:12 pm |

        The teams, and the City, call it Black and Gold, which is good enough for me. You may call it whatever you like.

  • Pete | May 2, 2019 at 12:20 pm |

    Excellent column today. I’ve been a fan for a long time and this was one of the best. Hal is a good dude and loves what he does and doesn’t take himself too seriously. That’s a winning combination for whatever he does.

    As far as SI, a sign of the times. Between smart phones and tablets and 5G just around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised to see most periodicals in print form vanish.

  • Jim Vilk | May 2, 2019 at 12:25 pm |

    As a v-neck wearer and a former vendor, today is a two-run homer! Thanks for making my day twice, Paul.

    Of all my former jobs, I think stadium/arena vending is the one I miss the most. Lots of great memories.

    My first game I think it was like 40 degrees out there, and I selling Pepsi. I must have made about $20.

    Actually that’s not bad given the circumstances. And it sure beats my low-water mark…sold one pennant at an indoor soccer game and made $1.75. But I had made $900 the night before at a concert, so commission giveth and commission taketh away.

    • Jim Vilk | May 2, 2019 at 12:27 pm |

      Oh, and I want that trading card!

  • Greg Brown | May 2, 2019 at 12:56 pm |

    This is one of the best Uni-Watches I have read ever. Most excellent!

    Did anyone notice that the way Hal beats on his hot dog box is reminiscent of Krazy George, who got his start at A’s games?

  • Art | May 2, 2019 at 1:05 pm |

    Can we please create the “Uni Watch Every Day Hero Hall of Fame” and induct Hal? That interview was the best thing I’ll read for a while!

  • Paul G | May 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm |

    There are a couple of stories on mlb.com and The Athletic website today about Holzauer’s dream to work in a MLB front office. He said he applied for a couple of entry level jobs but never got anywhere, so a career in MLB never worked out. The Jeopardy gig has gone pretty well, though.

    • Jim Vilk | May 2, 2019 at 1:27 pm |

      At this rate he’ll be able to buy his way in!

    • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 1:48 pm |

      Maybe he didn’t dress correctly — like, a V-neck with no base layer — for his interviews!

      • David A. | May 3, 2019 at 5:43 pm |

        IIRC, there’s a Jeopardy dress code for men: Collared shirt with necktie, and/OR jacket or sweater. Given that they’re under hot TV lights for long stretches, I’d guess this is a simple strategy to dress as comfortably as possible, in something as close to a t-shirt as the dress code allows.

  • Rydell | May 2, 2019 at 1:38 pm |

    Today’s has got to be my one of my favourite Uni Watch reads and the Jeopardy was the icing on the cake! Fun Paul!!

  • mike 2 | May 2, 2019 at 1:41 pm |

    Great lede today. What an interesting story. Thanks.

  • Charlie | May 2, 2019 at 1:41 pm |

    I was looking through some photos from last weekend’s Arkansas-Tennessee NCAA baseball game, and noticed that Tennessee has 3d printed logos on the back of their batting helmets. (They also have a 3d front logo.)

    https://rjhutch.exposure.co/arkansas-vs-tennessee-game-3/photos/5827439

    The three stars, I assume, represents the Tennessee state flag.

  • mike 2 | May 2, 2019 at 1:47 pm |

    I think James is in the clear with that v-neck.

    It doesn’t look like a super deep cut. For most guys its not going to show any more chest and hair than an unbuttoned dress shirt.

    I wouldn’t go any deeper though

  • Noel | May 2, 2019 at 3:02 pm |

    Wonder when NYC will ban Soft Drink/Soda ads. The do have a “Sin” tax on them, making the argument they are “bad” for you.

    • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 4:09 pm |

      That is false. There is no tax on sugary drinks in NYC.

      If you’re going to troll my city, at least have your facts straight.

      • Neeko | May 2, 2019 at 9:25 pm |

        NYC ain’t yours – it belongs to Barstool

    • Noel | May 2, 2019 at 5:18 pm |

      Sorry. Mixed the drink tax up with the “you can only have a 16 oz soda” rule which was proposed and then overturned in court (ref: Am Journal of Pub Health and Wikipedia) as an overreach of regulatory authority.

  • Shut Up Lutz! | May 2, 2019 at 4:57 pm |

    Paul, this isn’t uni related at all, but more about the different ways that information can be displayed. To wit, have you ever read any of Edward Tufte’s books? My dad had 3 of them, “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information,” Envisioning Information,” and “Visual Explanations.” It’s been some years since I had a chance to look through them but there seemed to be a little bit of a connection at least to how things are designed, which kinda ties in to uni watch, right?

    • Paul Lukas | May 2, 2019 at 4:59 pm |

      Haven’t read them. Sounds interesting — thanks for the tip!

  • Brian | May 2, 2019 at 5:34 pm |

    Thanks for a fantastic interview, Paul! This one really made me happy.

    I love the idea that Hal is out there, making people smile at ballgames. From that perspective, it honestly sounds like a dream job…

  • John | May 2, 2019 at 5:43 pm |

    Loved the interview with Hal.

    I used to wear v-neck sweaters without a shirt back in the 70s. It was the Burt Reynolds/David Hasselhoff era so there was no need to shave your chest. Looking at Holhauzer, I don’t plan on revisiting that fashion statement or most of the other stuff I wore back then ever
    again.

  • Lloyd Alaban | May 2, 2019 at 8:42 pm |

    Great piece on Hal! As a local, I’ve been to the coliseum many, many times. Hate the venue with a passion, but love their hot dogs and garlic fries.

  • RD | May 2, 2019 at 9:21 pm |

    Fantastic read — thank you!

  • tosaman | May 2, 2019 at 9:56 pm |

    You just wanted to use the word ‘depilatory’, didn’t you?

  • Mark Weber | May 2, 2019 at 9:59 pm |

    Wearing a v-neck sweater without a crew neck underneath always makes me think of Michael Douglas in “Basic Instinct”. A bad look and I can’t believe how he could get Sharon Stone dressed like that.

  • Neil | May 2, 2019 at 10:52 pm |

    You asked a hotdog vendor all those questions, but forgot to ask whether a hotdog is a sandwich. :-)

    • Hal | May 3, 2019 at 3:23 pm |

      Sandwich :)

  • Eli | May 3, 2019 at 12:16 am |

    Definitely one of your best interviews Paul! Awesome stuff. Also, I know it’s just apparel but the one guy in Hal’s photos is wearing a white A’s jersey that says “Oakland” instead of “Athletics”. Never saw that before.

  • Jeff Herro | May 3, 2019 at 7:28 am |

    You should ask HtHDG if he’s been around when a foul ball/home run ball has been hit and/or if he’s caught one while working???? great article.

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