The Oakland Athletics are used to the departure of big personalities: Reggie Jackson. Rickey Henderson. Barry Zito. Yoenis Cespedes.
Yet it’s not always the big-name players whom fans are saddest to see go.
Next season, Hal Gordon — better known as “Hal the Hot Dog Guy” — will not return as the stadium’s most well-known food vendor. Gordon first shared the news on Twitter to his loyal cadre of fans last week, announcing his decision to depart from the A’s after six seasons. As a graduate student in the process of earning his PhD in Economics at UC Berkeley, Gordon will transition away from the role that has brought him local fame and adoration: hawking hot dogs and being a friendly jokester.
Along with his well-known shticks, like shouting “Let’s ketchup!” in late innings whenever the A’s were losing, Gordon also cared for the fans and the city, often bringing his own array of extra condiments that are otherwise unavailable at the Coliseum — such as jalapeño mustard and capers — and supporting local charities by donating a portion of his tips.
Since he’s working to complete his degree, Gordon had been hoping that the A’s would hire him long-term at closer to the salary that a PhD economist would make — perhaps as the team’s in-house data scientist. But he knew it was a long shot.