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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

THE VENDOR FROM THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT

I'm a freak for baseball history.  I've heard the stories of the Babe calling his shot and the monuments out in center field in the old Yankee stadium.  I remember the home run call of Roger Maris' 61st home run and I was lucky enough to watch Bucky Dent's home run against the Red Sox when I was a kid.  Yankee history is some of the best history. That's why I am such of fan of guys like Marty Appel, the former PR guy for the Yankees.  Not because he can tell me those stories but because he knows a million others...stories that I never heard of.

In my crazy Yankee world, I met a guy named Dave Goode. Dave is a regular guy like you and me, but he did something in his life that many never did. He was a vendor at Yankee Stadium for 30 years.  So, I had to know about what he saw and what he experienced during that time.  So I decided to reach out and talk to him.  Let's just say I have a feeling Dave and I will be friends for a long time.  He's a friendly guy who says it like it is and has amazing stories.

It's July 4th, so I wanted to bring the Bleeding Yankee Blue readers something special.  So, here it is, our interview with Dave Goode, the vendor from the House that Ruth Built.  Enjoy this...I did.


BYB: When were you a vendor at Yankee stadium and what were your primary duties?

Dave Goode: I started working the baseball season 1970 and the last game I worked was the 1998 World Series.  My duties were vending food in the seats, walking up and down aisles to fans in the seats. I did that until I was 18 when I could sell beer, I mostly sold pizza rolls. Many great stories about those. They knew me as Suds the beer man. Later, I actually got a sales job from a VP of a company I met while vending at Yankee Stadium. That was in 1987.

BYB: I know you were working, but you probably experienced some pretty incredible moments. Tell me 2 or more that you'll never forget. Who was involved and what happened?

Dave Goode: There were many moments...I was done working and in 1976 was able to sit next to the comedian Robert Klein and watch Chris Chambliss hit the home run to beat the Royals and put the Yankees back in the playoffs for the first time since the 1964 World Series.  Also I was at the game when Reggie Jackson hit those home runs. There were many many other great moments too. Old Timers' games of the 1970's and 1980's. And how about being there for Dave Righetti's no-hitter on July 4th. My gosh,  too many to mention here.

BYB: What happens after the game for the Yankee vendors?

Dave Goode: Since the early 80's, beer vendors were done selling  2 hours after the game started or the 7th inning... which ever came first. Most of us would get changed back into our street clothes and go home or get a bite to eat.  During Giant football games in the early 70's, before they moved to New Jersey, there were about 10 or so vendors that would go bowling after a Giants game.

BYB: Describe the stadium back in the day. How different was it compared to the feeling of the new stadium now?

Dave Goode: The old, old, original  Yankee stadium was like the Coliseum in Rome. I have been in the old locker rooms where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and all the other great players dressed. I was in the room that Gehrig sat in and wow, the feelings I had in there... unreal. Before I worked there, I went to games and remember sitting in the upper deck behind a pole on the first bat day and couldn’t see much, but I didn't care, I was in the cathedral of all baseball. When the stadium reopened after the renovation in 1976, the poles were gone but so was some of the history from the bowels of the stadium. For example, in 1973,  I walked underneath the seats and saw all the championship banners that were hung from the upper deck, a memory I will never forget.  The old and renovated stadium rocked when fans would get up and cheer, many of you probably remember that.  Now, I have been to the new stadium twice and to me, a bit of a Yankee stadium purist ...it is not Yankee stadium.  It is more sterile, the old bullpens are gone, the place doesn’t rock during a big game. It's different. The stadium is not on hallowed ground the way the original and renovated stadium was. A few years ago when I got off the Major Deegan and made the left going to the stadium, 

I felt like I was in Berlin after World War 2. Sections of the stadium were gone and being torn down and as I watched, it made me sick.  But what's done is done.  Now I hope we can start a new dynasty in this park but to me, it will never ever be the ballpark I remember, it's a new beginning. 


BYB: What player did you love growing up and why?

Dave Goode: Like many kids in the 60's... as Bob Shephard would say...NUMBER 7...MICKEY MANTLE...NUMBER 7.  I saw many home runs he hit in person and on TV as a kid. He was my childhood idol. I was also a fan of Whitey Ford, Mel Stottlemyre and Al Downing.  For me though, Mantle by far was #1.

BYB: Did you get to meet the players as a vendor?

Dave Goode: In the old original stadium, I would stand outside and get autographs and met many players.  When the Yankees played at Shea (yeah, I worked there too...during the 1970's renovation), the player parking lot was next to the vendor waiting area and I met almost every player on the 1974 & 1975 Yankees team. I was friendly with many and got to shag fly balls with Walt "No Neck" Williams, a great guy. I  hung out with Elliott Maddox a few times.  
(In Photo: Bobby Bonds)
I also remember when the Yankees signed Bobby Bonds. I remember he came in with Willie Mays and a little kid. When I told Bobby that I was glad the Yankees signed him, Willie told me if you think he is good, wait until you see his son. That kid was Barry Bonds. Once the stadium re-opened, we were no where near the players and we were looked down on by the Yankees and management and were told to stay away from the players. It was different, but I still have great memories.

BYB: Would you ever consider writing a book?

Dave Goode: If I could tell my stories to someone who is a better writer than me,  I would love to write a book on the tales from the bowels of the stadium as well as some players and celebrities I met, yes.

Dave, thanks and I hope all you BYB readers enjoyed this treat today on July 4th. Comment....let my man Dave feel good! Thanks for reading everyone.

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1 comment:

  1. Great story. David was the master beer guy and is a true Yankee fan.

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