Roger and Me: Chris Erskine Profiles Dodger Peanut Ace
In today's L.A. Times sports section, writer Chris Erskine has an unapologetically affectionate profile of Dodger Stadium institution Roger Owens, the peripatetic peanut bag vendor known for his wicked, behind-the-back tosses of his wares to distant fans. (It's normally the case that it takes money to reach Owens far longer than he needs to get the nuts to the fan.)
"Last year," Owens quips to Erskine, "I only missed two throws. Probably cost me the Cy Young."
Owens began working for the Dodgers as a 15-year-old in 1958, when the team played at the L.A. Coliseum and, after more than 4,000 games, is now in his 51st year with the organization. Over the years, as stadium seating prices have gone up to seemingly match the local real estate market, we've been moving skyward in the ballpark firmament, and haven't seen Owens for a while, so it was good to connect with him via Erskine's piece.
While there's no mention here of Owens' victorious face-off
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with the Marriott Corp., which demanded he stop tossing his peanut bags
when the company took over stadium concessions in 1991, Erskine offers
some other details from Owens' life, beginning with a hard-scrabble
childhood in L.A. and moving on to a serious traffic accident during
his National Guard training. Today the wisecracking Owens, whom Erskine
calls the Koufax of vendors, can be found in the left-field loge seats
between aisles 101 and 167. For more backstory, Erskine recommends a
visit to a stadium souvenir stand to purchase Daniel S. Green's Owens
biography, The Perfect Pitch.
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