Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

San Francisco 49er

This is a very rare sight to see in San Francisco, I guess he’s somewhat depicting a 49er. But how does one control that 5 string neck sitting in such close confines of fellow spectators! Haha.San Francisco Banjo

1 Like

I’m not entirely sure if that is the same guy, but for years there was a guy that brought his banjo to Oakland A’s games. He had the same sort of thing going on, A’s colors and a cape. (I think in the 70’s the cape might have been a dyed towel.) In the old days he would wander around picking tunes. More recently, I heard that he would only play a particular tune if you tipped him. If you watch an A’s game on the tube you can hear the latest version of what I think is a sponsored fan in the incessant drum beating through the game.

A lot of pro sports have these kind of “sponsored fans.” One guy that has probably retired by now was Crazy George. If you attended pro games in the last 30 years there is a good chance that you have seen him. His thing was a hand drum that he’d pound on to urge the fans to cheer. I met him at a somewhat lightly attended San Jose Giants (minor league, low A level). He came up and sat down next to me and the wife and I learned a lot about his business. He told me he was on the road for about 200 nights a year at basketball, football, soccer, baseball, etc. He was represented by a sports agent and he made a pretty good living at it. I remember thinking he was making well over $200K/year. (That was over 20 years ago.) At the time I remember thinking how strange it was for Crazy George to be at a low A baseball game. If I remember correctly, Hank Greenwald, the former Giants radio broadcaster was attending the game and signing his book, “This Copywritten Broadcast.” Before you think you’ll take up the professional cheerleader job consider that it is a rough life and the effect on his voice was apparent. He was a nice guy though.

Recently there was a story about some Chicago Cubs fans that obtained a bear cub outfit. They put a Cubs’ jersey on him and would attend games at Wrigley Field. As you might expect the fans wanted to get their picture with the mascot. But this wasn’t a mascot sponsored by the team. Things started to deteriorate as they so often do in situations like this. The mascot started demanding payment for the pictures and people that failed to pay up were chased by the mascot around the stadium, terrifying youngsters. Then they started going into the local bars and before you know it, there were fistfights with the drunken mascot. The Cubs organization brought the fun and games to an end with a lawsuit that required the perpetrators to cease and desist from attending games in mascot outfits and to hand over the mascot uniform they had developed. I can’t wait for Spring Training, you really can’t make this stuff up.

1 Like

Wow that was all very interesting! I had no idea, thanks. Fireman Ed of the NY Jets comes to mind. I wonder if he is one of those. I know he just recently said he retired from wearing that hard hat because he’s now ashamed of the team. Something like that anyways.

Speaking of your fortunate encounters with some of the Oakland A’s VIP’s - I attended an A’s game back in 1994, the only professional baseball I have ever attended in my life - I caught a foul ball!! Yep, I still have it…

Thanks for those interesting insight Mole…

Butch B.