113. The Green Weenie

greenweenieWatching the Steelers fans with their Terrible Towels on Super Bowl Sunday reminded me of an even stranger item that Pittsburgh fans would wave when I lived there in the late ’60s — The Green Weenie.

The Green Weenie was born one day when a trainer for the Pittsburgh Pirates put a jinx on the opposing pitcher by waving a green rubber hot dog at him. I’m not sure how anyone would come to own a green rubber hot dog, or why they’d bring it to a baseball game, but this guy had one and it apparently worked. The batter walked and the Pirates went on to win the game.

Hollow plastic Green Weenies were soon being sold at the stadium, even though their resemblance to the original was minimal: They weren’t flexible, one side was flat and inside were some sort of dried seeds that made a maracas-like sound when shaken. The whole idea was a bit iffy, and they looked more like the pickles that were produced in the nearby Heinz factory than they did hot dogs, but that didn’t stop the Forbes Field faithful from responding when the announcer’s rallying cry came: “Get out your Green Weenies!” I can only imagine the fear that the visiting team felt as a wave of  “chhh-chhh-chhhs” wafted down from the stands.

On the other hand, it was more noise than a flock of Terrible Towels makes.


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