Today, Tom Hanks gets top-billing on movie marquees as one of the world's biggest Hollywood stars. But growing up in California's Bay Area, Hanks had a summer job selling hot dogs as a teenager.
Now, with fans and vendors barred from MLB games due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Oakland A's have found a way to honor Hanks' one-time summer job while trying to recreate something resembling a normal environment at a typical MLB game.
When the team opened its season at the Oakland Coliseum on Friday, fans watching at home could spot a cardboard cutout in the stands featuring the likeness of Hanks (using a photoshopped version of the A-list star's high school yearbook picture) dressed in a hot dog vendor's uniform.
The 64-year-old Hanks even recorded a few audio clips of him hawking stadium fare, shouting slogans such as "Hot dogs here! Colossal hot dogs!"
"It's not a ballgame without a hot dog!" Hanks cries as part of the pre-recorded shtick that the A's have pumped over their stadium's loudspeakers, along with recorded fan noise, in a further attempt to recreate the sights and sounds of a normal MLB game.
Placed in the stands behind home plate, the cutout of the "Apollo 13" and "A League of Their Own" star is among many other cardboard cutouts featuring the likenesses of A's fans — a practice that many MLB teams are implementing this season in the hopes of making MLB stadiums feel a bit less empty during this atypical baseball season.
Hanks's cutout features the star wearing a white cap and a red-and-white striped vest, in the style of the hot dog vendors who typically work games at the Oakland Coliseum in normal times.
In June 2019, Hanks recalled his summer job working the stands at the ballpark and selling hot dogs to hungry Oakland A's fans as a 14-year-old. In an interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Hanks told Kimmel that he worked at A's games in the early-1970s selling hot dogs as well as "peanuts and soda," but the experience wasn't quite what he had been expecting.
At the time, Hanks said he was thinking that working as a vendor at ballgames "would be like in a TV show where everyone helps out the young kid trying to make it, [kind of] thing."
"First of all, I got robbed twice," Hanks told Kimmel. "Note to self: Hide those wads of cash. Don't be walking with a wad of cash sticking out of your pocket."
What's more, Hanks said that the adult vendors were not as friendly to their teenaged rivals as he thought they would be. "I came across professional vendors, who did not like the fact kids were there," the actor said. "I'm 14 years old and a guy, probably in his late-50s, is yelling [at me], 'Hey, kid, that was my sale!'"
Of course, Hanks went on to land much sweeter gigs. The two-time Oscar winner is now one of Hollywood's best-paid actors, pulling in $31 million in 2017 alone, according to the most recent estimate available from Forbes.
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