NILES, OH - The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are excited to unveil the second of three specialty jerseys the players will don this season. On Friday, June 21st the Scrappers will wear jerseys on field paying tribute to local legend, Harry M. Stevens presented by the Eastwood Mall Complex. The jerseys were designed by local and well known artist, Rick Muccio. The game will feature promotions and contests paying tribute to Harry Stevens and his contributions to the game of baseball. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Harry Stevens commemorative print created by Rick Muccio. Fireworks will follow the game, presented by Yuengling and 21 WFMJ & WBCB.
The hot dog, as we know it today was invented by the original Harry M. Stevens. Stevens, credited with the invention in 1901, was born in England and came to Niles, Ohio in 1880, staying there a few years before moving away. The home he built still stands at the corner of Robbins and North Crandon avenues near the entrance to Stevens Park, which his family donated to the Niles community.
His empire was born in Columbus, Ohio, where Harry Stevens decided to print and sell scorecards for the local baseball games. Legend has it Stevens invented a special slogan for the hawkers: "You can't tell the players without a scorecard." Stevens, who also invented the baseball scorecard, turned the vending of the hot dog into Harry M. Stevens Inc., which was one of the largest ballpark businesses in the United States at one time. His concessionaire business included clients such as Fenway Park, Shea Stadium, Meadowlands, Churchill Downs and the Houston Astrodome. In December 1994 his business, taken over by family, was sold to Aramark.
The Harry Stevens Tribute jerseys will be auctioned off the night of the game in a silent auction and through the app, LiveSource. Proceeds from the auction will benefit The Avenue and Main, coordinators of Harry Stevens Hot Dog Day, which is held annually in downtown Niles. Since 2013, the annual event features music, entertainment, a dachshund race and of course, a hot dog eating contest. The 2019 Harry Stevens Hot Dog Day will be held downtown Niles on Sunday, June 30.
Tickets for the Scrappers game on June 21 are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 330-505-0000, visiting the Chevy All Stars Box Office or mvscrappers.com.
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are the Short Season Single A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and open the season at Eastwod Field on Sunday, June 16 against the Batavia Muckdogs at 6:35pm. Opening Day and single game tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at the Chevy All Stars Box Office, by calling the front office at 330-505-0000 or visiting mvscrappers.com. For more information about individual game tickets, ticket packages or group outings visit mvscrappers.com.
Harry Stevens Background
Harry M. Stevens was an ironworker at a mill in Niles and then became a traveling book salesman. The job took him to Columbus and a baseball game where he found the current scorecard (now, program) to be more than confusing. He took it upon himself to re-design the scorecard and made a deal with the Columbus teams vice president to sell them. Stevens' design features an illustrated front cover, an advertisement on the back and inside, the list of the names and positions along with room to take notes or keep score. He began selling the scorecard in in Toledo, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, even offering bilingual scorecards.
A meeting with the New York Giant baseball club, took his business to New York. After some rainy days, Steven's decided to add concessions to his business model. On a cold day during a Giants game, ice cream and cold drinks just weren't selling, so Steven bough a bunch of frankfurters and buns and started selling them instead. His vendor yelled "hot dachshunds" for sale. The story goes, that a cartoonist at the time for the New York Journal didn't know how to spell dachshunds so he called them "hot dogs" in his cartoon instead.
Steven's concessionaire business continued to grow and received contracts from New York's Saratoga Rae Course and Belmont Park. Stevens was operating concessions in just about every city served by baseball's National League and then in the American League when it was founded in 1901. His menu became the standard bill of fare at the ballpark. His empire wasn't just ballparks. He served food at polo matches, New York City's Velodrome, the Chicago Coliseum, Madison Square Garden and multiple horse tracks on the east coast. Eventually, he sold his concessionaire business to Aramark in December of 1994. At the time of purchase, some account HMS held was Fenway Park, Shea Stadium, Meadowlands, Churchill Downs, and the Houston Astrodome.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.