John Roseboro, All-Star catcher for the L. A. Dodgers, passed away August 16th of stroke complications. He will always be remembered as the victim of the bat-swinging riot of August 22, 1965, perpetrated by Juan Marichal of the Giants at Candlestick Park. He should be remembered for much more; his clutch hitting, his great defensive ability and his handling of pitchers as the Dodgers’ catcher, his leadership, and his class.
Congrats to the Louisville, Kentucky baseball team for defeating the team from Japan in the Little League World Series on August 25th. It was great to watch baseball players on both teams who really care about the game, and not about money. It’s called pride; we had that years ago in the major leagues. Will we see that again in the big leagues? Sure we will, the day I can do a back-flip to the moon.
Story of the Week
THE HOT DOG
This week’s article deals with the history of the hot dog. No, I’m not referring to Deion Sanders. I’m referring to the entrée-of-the-day at ballgames. This is not exactly a sports story, only it is. After all, we Americans down more hot dogs at sporting events than any other food.
When I moved to Las Vegas from L.A., and saw my first ballgame here this season (it’s the Dodgers’ AAA farm club), I hoped they’d have Dodger Dogs. They do. What I didn’t get was baseball the quality of which I’m used to, but that’s my problem. So the feature story this week is that American sports institution, the hot dog. I’m lucky in that I love hot dogs as much as Ben Matlock does, and my cholesterol permits it.
There’s a lot of controversy about the origin of the modern hot dog. Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, is credited by many as the origin of the frankfurter. Others maintain it was a butcher named Johann Georghehner from Coburg, Germany, who traveled to Frankfurt to promote his new product. And the people of Vienna, Austria point to the term "wiener" to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.
Now for the American version. It supposedly began in Coney Island in the late 19th. century. Charles Feltman was advised to sell hot sandwiches in his business, so he specialized in his hometown’s sausage, the frankfurter. He hired a young man named Nathan Handwerker who eventually went into business for himself and competed with Feltman for the Coney Island trade.Right, Nathan’s was the brand name.
But what about the name "Hot Dog?" By the early 1900’s, the sausages were becoming an American novelty. They were known as frankfurters, franks, wieners, red hots, and dachshund sausages. One Harry Stevens, a refreshments concessionaire, was making them a familiar food at New York City baseball games. They were referred to at the Polo Grounds, home of the Giants, as dachshunds. Tad Dorgan, a syndicated Hearst cartoonist, drew a picture of a real dachshund, smeared with mustard and sandwiched in a bun. He captioned the picture as a "Hot Dog." The name obviously stuck. And today, approximately 20 billion hot dogs are turned out each year.
Yes, this week’s article is a mild departure from the Sports Junkie norm. Nothing wrong with a change-up from time to time; every winning hurler has to have more than one pitch in his repertoire. Now if I only had my three favorite places for hot dogs, all in L.A., and major league sports to go with them. But to quote Sinatra, "That’s Life." Anyway, please pass the deli mustard, relish and onions.
Last Week’s Trivia
Who is the only Division I basketball player ever to score 100 points in a game? Frank Selvy of Furman did it in 1953-54. He also averaged more than 40 points per game that season.
Trivia Question of the Week
Who is the only pitcher in major league history to win 20 games in a season, and record 20 saves in a season? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.