Etiquette says a 20th anniversary present should be platinum. In the case of this anniversary, though, the proper present is very obvious: condiments.
Thursday marks the 20-year anniversary of the Klement's Racing Sausages, who have entertained fans at Milwaukee Brewers games since June 27, 1993, back when the Brewers played at Milwaukee County Stadium.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel traced the history of the Racing Sausages back to when they were just an off-the-cuff suggestion:
It all started 21 years ago, when [Michael] Dillon, then 41, was sitting next to then Brewers' Vice President of Operations Gabe Paul. While watching the original animated sausages run across a backdrop of Milwaukee on the scoreboard, Dillon, who worked with Paul's son, turned to Paul and told him he thought it would be funny if instead of finishing the digital race with three dots, three real sausages ran into the stadium.
"I was like — 'I'll make them, I'll run in them,'" Dillon remembered. "I kind of coerced him into it."
Dan Necci, Dillon's business partner at McDill Design and the original Italian sausage, was part of that conversation. He remembers Paul just rolling his eyes at the idea.
"He was kind of like, 'If you guys want to do this — we don't really care,'" Necci said.
But the fans cared. Over the years, the Racing Sausages have become incredibly popular — more popular even than some players. There were three sausages when the races began: Bratwurst, Italian and Polish. Hot Dog and Chorizo were added in later years.
The Journal-Sentinal has video of the first sausage race, which was won by Bratwurst. Fun fact: Necci, Dillon and Jeff Paul, son of Gabe Paul, were inside the costumes for that original sausage race.
Twenty years later, what was once a "yeah, whatever" idea is now an institution with the Brewers. It's something that even the players play attention to and cheer for. Here's a video from Fox Sports that proves it.
BLS H/N: Reddit
- Sports & Recreation
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Gabe Paul