Dodger Dog creator Arthur dies at 84
LOS ANGELES -- Thomas Gregory Arthur, the baseball stadium concessionaire whose foot-long Nathan's knockoff came up short and became the beloved Dodger Dog, has died. He was 84.
Arthur died of a heart attack on June 8 in St. Louis, his son Steve said Tuesday.
The former New Yorker came up with a foot-long hot dog -- borrowed from his favorite Nathan's dogs -- to put excitement into the ballpark menu when the team moved from the Coliseum to Dodger Stadium in 1962.
"He called it the foot-long dog, but it was actually only 10 inches. It was before truth in advertising, but he decided to call them Dodger Dogs," his son said.
It meant big business for Arthur Food Services, stadium concessionaire for 29 years until 1991. Along with beer, popcorn, peanuts and Cracker Jack, some 50,000 Dodger Dogs were sold each game day.
"It was our staple," his son said, adding, "100 percent of the people who came to the ballpark had a Dodger Dog. It was pretty popular. Vincent Price was a big baseball fan and he put it in his cook book back then.
"It's one of the best dogs in the country. It's not the meat. The secret is the spices."
Dodgers team historian Mark Langill agreed, saying Tuesday: "Besides peanuts and Cracker Jack, its probably the most famous delicacy in baseball."
Arthur was born in Los Angeles but grew up in New York City. His father owned theaters, including the Roxy in New York City.
After serving as a B-24 navigator during World War II, Arthur returned to Los Angeles to become a cartoonist or illustrator, studying briefly at the Art Center College of Design and the University of Southern California School of Architecture.
He earned money supplying vending machines to theaters and aircraft plants and later gave up on art and concentrated on business.
In 1955, he won a Coliseum contract, which he served until 1976. He also had concessions at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Chicago's Wrigley Field. But Arthur had his longest run at Dodger Stadium.
Besides his son Steve, Arthur leaves daughter Barbara Arthur of St. Louis and sons Thomas Gregory Arthur II of Lafayette, Calif., and Terry Arthur of Chicago.
Arthur was cremated and a private service was planned in Los Angeles within two weeks.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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