This is Part 3 of a 3-part series about America’s fascination and love for baseball and hot dogs. In Part 2, we discuss the growth of America’s love for hot dogs and America’s national pastime, as well as the importance of Charles Feltman and Babe Ruth to hot dogs and baseball, respectively. In part 3, we will continue with the historical examination of both, concluding with their place in the American present.
In the 1890s, the word “Frankfurt” was well known, especially in 1893 when it became popular in ballparks. Credit is given to Chris Von of Ahe who started the tradition. He was the owner of the major league baseball team St. Louis Browns.
Harry M. Steven, who ran a food concession in the early 1900s at New York City’s Polo Grounds, had his vendors sell large, spicy sausage rolls during Giants baseball games, topped with sauerkraut and mustard. His salespeople were yelling, “Get your hot ones! Hot ones!”
Nathan’s has been recognized today for having the highest quality hot dogs in the world. Statistics show that 360 million Nathan’s Frankfurters were sold last year. They also have the famous Frankfurter eating contest. These hot dogs are sold and enjoyed at 20,000 retail and food service outlets across the United States. Sports celebrities like Joe Namath and Joe DiMaggio loved Nathan’s wieners.
For both Charles Feltman and Nathan Handwerker, the American dream was embraced. This symbolized for them “a dream of social order in which each man and each woman can reach the maximum stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” (James Trulow Adams 1931)
For Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, the American dream also came true. He is the most recognizable and adored baseball player to this day. The image of him sharing his hot dog with children in the stands at Yankee games was commemorated in a commemorative film of his life, The Babe, where John Goodman played him. It’s no coincidence that the national rise in popularity of both the hot dog and baseball go hand in hand. Charles Feltman sold wieners in New York, where they were popular locally in the early 20th century. Babe Ruth played in New York from 1920 to 1934. He loved this succulent delight and was the most famous athlete of that era, perhaps of any era. Their well-known hot dog consumption and baseball lore combined to spread the word that “red hot hots” were a great food and should be tried, especially while watching a ball game.
Soon hot dogs were being sold in every ballpark, the tradition was born, and the Frankfurter became a staple of the American diet and of baseball itself. In fact, if you try to show off and make a mistake in baseball, it’s known as a “hot dog” because you’re trying to be better than you are when a hot dog is certainly good enough, especially the way they make them. in the ball park. Today, many famous and delicious gourmet Frankfurters and hot dog variations are sold at every park in Major League Baseball, including Fenway Frank in Boston, Nathan’s Dog in New York, the famous Dodger Dog, and even the Bison Dog in Atlanta. There are more variations of the delicious meat treat today than Derek Jeter’s hits.
So next time you’re at the grocery store, you can pick up chicken, turkey, tofu, or beef sausage, or wait until your next barbecue, ballgame, or outdoor festival to eat that magical outdoor dog. But if you fancy one now, you don’t have to wait for opening day, there’s always a “Nathan’s” somewhere.
Red Hot! Any? You bet… Hey, I’ll have one here! It may not be diet-friendly, but it tastes great and is certainly patriotic!