Why do we eat hot dogs at sporting events?

Proudly serving made-to-order enlightenment in a drive-thru world.

Updated: June 9, 2003, 3:11 PM ET
By By Answer Guy
Answer Guy

Gabriel Schechter, researcher, Baseball Hall of Fame: Hot dogs themselves go back to the 1850s, and the first hot dogs in ballparks appeared in the 1880s or 1890s. A guy named Harry M. Stevens is supposed to have introduced them to the Polo Grounds in 1901. Any idea why? Well, they're easy to cook and carry. They're not unwieldy, like, say, a Philly cheese steak. Hey, don't be talking bad about Philly cheese steaks! Sorry. Hot dogs are cheap, too. I've got a photo here from a game in the 1940s, and it says 15 cents for a hot dog. Sweet. Of course, nowadays you've got your Fenway Franks, Dodger Dogs and what have you. Personally, I'd rather have a bratwurst in Detroit or Milwaukee. Can I get that to go?

Bill Himmelman, NBA historian: I think serving food at sporting events started with baseball, and baseball pioneered the hot dog. They're just about as American as it gets. They're German, actually, from sausages made in Frankfurt. Yeah, but you know what I mean. Do I?