Monday, April 02, 2007

Beer Hawkers I Have Known


While I did not know him personally, I sure as heckfire knew of 'Bill The Beerman', who was a fixture at Seattle sports events in general, and Mariners' games in particular, for more than 20 years.

Recently, the Seattle PI's Jim Moore had this to say about a couple of the Beerman's best pitches:

You couldn't help but hear him -- the Beerman had two trademark calls during his vending days, most notably:

"Freeze Your Teeth and Give Your Tongue a Sleigh Ride."

There was another poetic call:

"He who has something to sell,

"And goes and whispers in a well,

"Will never gather in the dollars,

"As he who climbs the stairs and hollers:


Unfortunately 'Bill the Beerman' will never again slake the thirst of folks like me, people who love nothing better than to hang out in the bleachers with a scorecard, a pencil, and a pound of spits, cloud or shine.

That is because Bill Scott died of complications from colon cancer last Sunday.

Which is a damn shame.

But luckily, we all have other beer slinging favorites in our own home towns that will do our bidding as the weather turns warm and the evenings slide into a deepening purple of luxurious languidity and ducks on the pond.

Two of my all time favorite beer hawkers are Rob and Ernie who have worked the friendly confines of Vancouver's Nat Bailey Stadium for almost as long as I can remember.

And, in the case of Rob at least, he's got another gimmick.

Which is that he can write, as he does here in talking up his side-kick:

Have you ever, in your life, come across a person whose very demeanour both pulls you in yet makes you question having further children? Every worksite has that person, be they a Debbie Downer, Selma Bouvier or Dwight Schrute?

Meet Ernie: “Mr. Nice” The first successful human to be spliced with lemon DNA, Ernie entered the world in 1969, just in time for Woodstock. Left behind when the festival ended, he made his way to Nova Scotia, where his formative years were spent attending “David Rowan Secondary School” in the Annapolis Valley, named after the accidental Redcoat.

An average student, Ernie was able to set himself apart in Grade 5 with the essay “Why Disco Blows”. A seminal piece in the anti-disco movement, the amazement that it was penned by someone so young led Bill Veeck, then-owner of the Chicago White Sox, to slap his son Mike in the head, daring him to come up with something better.


Ernie has the second-longest tenure as a beer hawker, 15 years. Such a streak is attributed to his inability to ‘get a hint’ and the fact that his salary is diverted to support the Zapatista movement in southern Mexico.

Ernie also owns over 200 baseball hats, one for every stadium/team he has visited, plus one of each affiliate of his beloved Cleveland Indians.


Once having claimed to be both Cory Snyder’s father and Bob Feller’s son, Ernie was able to finally travel to Cleveland in 2002 and see his heroes play. Unfortunately, the night before, in Akron, while watching the Aeros play the Harrisburg Senators, he actually got to watch today’s Indians play, as most of the Senators starters were sent to Cleveland that night.

Ernie discovered Bartolo Colon had been traded back in the hotel. But a sandwich at Alice Cooperstown and 12 beers at the Thirsty Parrot helped ease the pain, and the police were the only ones able to make him leave. He’d go back in a second, except for that darn restraining order.


Guys that sell you beer in the stands and still manage to have just as much fun as you without even drinking.

That's what I like.

Well, that and the fact that little e. and Bigger E. both love it when Ernie shows them his tatoos.

Betcha you can't guess which one is their favorite......


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