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L.A.'s Famous Peanut Man Celebrates 50th Anniversary With Dodgers
In our society, it is difficult to find a hero worth imitating and respecting. Yet Roger Owens, the Famous Peanut Man at Dodger Stadium, can be called a genuine hero, because he has been keeping ballpark crowds entertained for 50 years.
This is what makes the story of Roger Owens, the beloved and internationally famous Peanut Man at Dodger Stadium, all the more inspiring, engaging, and heart-warming. Owens started as a 15 year-old finding work at the L.A. Coliseum when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved West to play baseball in 1958. Fifty years later, 65 year-old Owens is celebrating that same anniversary of that historic move the Dodgers made as well as his own golden anniversary with Dodger Blue.
A biography entitled "The Perfect Pitch" (Llumina Press, 2004) was published four years ago and chronicles Owens' childhood fears of his mothers mental breakdown, foster home abuse, and life in the threatening, inner-city streets of Los Angeles as the son of a Baptist minister and eldest of nine children growing up in a very poor family. The book also colorfully depicts his rise from lowly soda vendor to premier peanut pitcher, known for his trick peanut bag tossing, quick wit, and approachable charm.
Written by Owens' nephew, Daniel S. Green, the book also delves into the many hardships and miracles Owens and his family faced while growing up, which included an attempted murder on his father in Compton in 1968 during a holdup that made headlines. The fired bullet had been stopped in its tracks by a huge wad of Gospel tracts, stuffed in the minister's front coat pocket. A year later, Owens himself survived a near-fatal military jeep accident that required emergency brain surgery by the militarys most gifted neurosurgeon and in the days well before CT scans. Owens lost his sense of smell but amazed his physicians and went on to become the most celebrated peanut vendor of all time - a fact solidified by his appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.
Owens, who has appeared on nearly every major talk show, countless news programs, and game shows and even bit roles in motion pictures in the last 35 years, still continues to entertain Dodger fans with his under-the-leg toss, behind-the-back, and double-bagger to two different fans at the same time, even after 46 years, 4,500 events, and 2.5 million bags of peanuts, uniquely-tossed and unbelievably accurate even from more than 30 rows.
"Dodger Stadium is my home away from home. I live and breathe this place. I guess I was just born to be an entertainer, and Dodger Stadium is my stage," Owens said.
Despite the lack of real heroes in American culture, we still have one in Roger Owens. We have a hero who has connected with people for 50 years in the grand setting of the old ballpark and who continues to make a statement not with words but in action, up and down stairs, trick-tossing peanuts to three generations of fans and always having a joke or story for each one. According to Jon Weisman of the well-known blog, "Dodger Thoughts," Owens is "one of those quietly spellbinding figures that if he didn’t already exist, you’d have been pretty proud to invent."
If only we could invent more like him.
Publisher: Llumina Press
Format: Paperback (6x9)
Format: Hardcover (6x9)
To purchase copies, please visit Borders Books, Dodger Stadium, or go to www.rogerowenspeanutman.com or any major online retailer.
For reviews, photos, videos, a blog, and more, visit www.rogerowenspeanutman.com
Both Green and Owens are available for interview, and nationwide by phone.
About the Author
Daniel Scott Green graduated from California State University, Long Beach. He has a B.A. in Art and a Minor in Marketing. He works as a graphic designer and does some web design. He eventually wants to do what he is best at, illustrating and oil painting. Green also would like to draw and write children's books and write songs. His hobbies include playing guitar, traveling, and music. A native of West Los Angeles, Green currently resides with his wife in Orange County, California.
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DSG Design is the company of Daniel S.Green, fine artist, graphic and web designer, author and songwriter.