Monday, April 06, 2009

enjoy red pelican at the ball park...and at home

Vintage Ad #781: Enjoy Red Pelican at the Ball Park
It's opening day for the Tigers and Blue Jays, who will battle it out at the Skydo...Rogers Centre tonight. Cue a baseball-themed ad as today's pick.

It's safe to say that there were baseball nuts on both sides of my family. Aunt Gladys was a decent player in her youth and followed the Tigers closely for years. Dad could rattle off the names of anyone who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs AAA team in the 1950s. During my childhood, he attended two Tiger games a year—one with his fellow teachers and one with me. Our usual pattern was to take a special tunnel bus from Windsor to Tiger Stadium, grab a handful of programs and yearbooks, pray our seats weren't one of the infamous obstructed views (which other family members were the lucky winners of one year) and wolf down as much junk food as possible. This always included a thick, steaming hot dog that the grizzled sellers would slather a thick layer of mustard with a wooden stick that looked like a tongue depressor. I always made sure to have a chocolate malt cup, which was ice milk served with another tongue depressor, which made we wonder if a doctor was in charge of the stadium concessions. None of the games we saw were of great historical importance, not even the last major league victory for Glenn Abbott.

The trip back to Windsor was rarely dull. Entertainment ranged from congregations of Hare Krishnas wandering by the bus stop at the southeast corner of Michigan and Trumbull to drunk fans on the bus who provided full reenactments of Bob Uecker Lite Beer commercials...

(Ah to serve up the exact ad!)

Once back across the border, we'd head over to Harvey's by the University of Windsor if either of us still had room in our stomachs. Fish fingers and fries way past my bedtime, wahoo!

As for Red Pelican Mustard, it was a home-grown product served up at the stadium. It never seemed easy to find at the major supermarkets and vanished from the market completely around 2003. The take-home version by the 1990s came in small plastic bottles with a red cap. Red Pelican was brownish-grey in colour and had a sharp, crushed mustard seed taste. Dad was a Red Pelican fan and hunted for it if the usual spots were out of it.

The last game we went to at Tiger Stadium occurred around 1990-1991. One of Dad's friends from his high school days in Leaside was in the area for a business meeting and landed some tickets. My legs were stretched out on top the Tigers' dugout. Having entered my teens, I didn't feel the urge to lean over and ask for autographs—let the little kids do that. We figured nothing would ever top those seats and ended our treks on a high note.

Source: 1976 Detroit Tigers Scorebook 

Update (Jan 16/15): Red Pelican is back! Pricier than the old days, but still tasty.    

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