Is a hot dog a sandwich? MLB's official hot dog ambassador weighs in

Fun fact: Before Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that Nathan’s had been named the official hot dog of MLB, there had never been an official hot dog of MLB.

Funny, because when you think about hot dogs and sports, you think about baseball, but baseball had never said, “that one there, that’s our official hot dog.” As part of the deal, Nathan’s is now also a sponsor of MLB’s “Play Ball” initiative, which aims to get kids more involved in baseball. Kids like hot dogs, so that makes sense.

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We had one more very important question upon hearing the news of America’s pastime adopting an official hot dog and it’s a question that has been asked numerous times over the past few years, yet an answer has never been agreed upon.


It’s one of those questions that’s as divisive as whether toilet paper should roll from the front or back. Important? Naw. Fun to be debate? Oh yeah. Merriam-Webster says yes. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says no. So this seemed like an opportunity to get some finality on the baseball side of things.

Nathan's was named the official hot dog on MLB on Tuesday. (AP)
Nathan's was named the official hot dog on MLB on Tuesday. (AP)

On Tuesday morning, ex-MLB All-Star John Franco had been brought into the Nathan’s announcement. He was handing out hot dogs all around New York City. Frank is right there in his name, almost. He’s from Brooklyn. And he’s now reppin’ the official hot dog of MLB. An actual MLB hot dog ambassador, this might be the most official answer to the question we’ll ever get. So I asked it.

It turns out, Franco had heard about this debate. So, before we got his answer, he started there.

“First off, who thought this was even a question?” Franco said.

The Internet, I told him.

“They’re not a true New Yorker if they think a hot dog is a sandwich,” he said. “Do you go to the ballpark to get a sandwich and a beer or a hot dog and a beer?”

I suppose that depends on if you’re looking for a pulled-pork funnel cake sandwich or a hot dog. Nonetheless, I told Franco that I agreed. A hot dog is a hot dog in my estimation. The definition of a sandwich, judging by the looks of things lately, has started to get pretty liberal.

“It’s on a bun,” Franco said. “You grill it. Can you grill a sandwich? Ham, bologna, you can’t grill that stuff.”

Well, you could. Or you could make a panini. But that’s all getting very off the true topic here. Is a hot dog a sandwich?

“I can end the debate,” Franco says. “I’m an authority on eating hot dogs. I’ll say this, this is a hot dog. You eat a hot dog on a bun not a slice of bread.”

That seems definitive enough to me. But I imagine the a-hot-dog-is-a-sandwich portion of the Internet may not agree.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!