StoryCorps: The 'Larger Than Life' Legend Of The Ballpark Beer Guy Clarence "Fancy Clancy" Haskett has been selling beer and snacks at Baltimore Orioles games for so long, he's made vending an art form. "My mindset is I'm a professional athlete," he says.
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The 'Larger Than Life' Legend Of The Ballpark Beer Guy

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The 'Larger Than Life' Legend Of The Ballpark Beer Guy

The 'Larger Than Life' Legend Of The Ballpark Beer Guy

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Baseball season is underway, and in many stadiums, two games take place at once. Teams compete on the field; vendors compete in the stands, trying to sell the most candy or drinks. Today's StoryCorps features Clarence Haskett, also known as Fancy Clancy, who has been a vendor at Baltimore Orioles games since 1974. He's sold more than 1 million beers and sat with fellow beer vendor Jerry Collier.

CLARENCE HASKETT: My very first day, I was still in high school. And I don't know why I remember this, but I made $8.25.

JERRY COLLIER: I met you probably the second day of my new job where I was a beer vendor when I was 19 years old. And you just crushed it. When I looked around the ballpark, there was this ray of sunshine everywhere you looked - a guy who outworked people, who out-loved all the customers more than anybody else. And I said, that's who I want to be like.

HASKETT: But see, I had little secrets, though. I used to move quicker than a lot of the other vendors because I was sprinter in college. Another thing - you know, I had the gift of gab, and I used to do rhymes. So that helped me out.

COLLIER: Give me one of your rhymes.

HASKETT: Well, back in the old days, I used to use this one a lot - hey, empty your pockets, put your money in your hand, 'cause here's Clancy, your beer man. So, you know, I used to do little things like that. And all the vendors that we worked with, all of us had some type of a personality from doing something.

COLLIER: And if you go into the stadium, and you're number one, you have incredible pressure to be a selling machine

HASKETT: The way that I look my job as a vendor, my mindset is I'm a professional athlete. I have to stay in shape. I have to train during the off-season because vendors running around with straps around their neck, that's only on television commercials. Good vendors pick up their case and they carry it.

COLLIER: It's consuming.

HASKETT: Yeah.

COLLIER: It's in your soul. Put it this way - both of us, when it came to our wedding, how did we plan out wedding?

HASKETT: Around the Orioles.

COLLIER: When the Orioles were out of town (laughter).

HASKETT: Yup.

COLLIER: You know, Clancy, you epitomize to me and so many people all that's right in the world. If it's a rain out at the Oriole game and you only sell two cases of beer, in the big scheme of life, that's not a problem. And I think that's more than the rhymes and all the rest. You're larger-than-life in a lot of ways.

HASKETT: I can always go somewhere and get a free beer from somebody. I can go in a restaurant or a bar that I've never been in before. There's always somebody who knew who I was. So I definitely shake a lot of hands. And as long as I'm still healthy, I know I've got another good 10 years.

INSKEEP: That's beer vendor Clarence "Clancy" Haskett with his friend Jerry Collier in Baltimore - should've sent one of them over to serve that crowd in Peoria this morning. This week, Haskett began his 43rd season. This interview will be archived in the Library of Congress and is featured in the latest StoryCorps book, "Callings: The Purpose And Passion Of Work."

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