Kenny Geidel, the well-known, shrill-voiced vendor at Pittsburgh sporting events for three decades, died Monday, the Pirates confirmed this afternoon.
Some knew Mr. Geidel as the Cotton Candy Guy, the Lemonade Guy, or the "Coke here!" Guy. His no-nonsense, trudging-through-the-rain work ethic endeared him to fans of the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins since he began selling goods through the aisles of Three Rivers Stadium in 1985.
Mr. Geidel, 64, was a resident of Edgewood.
The Pirates and the family plan to issue a statement later.
Mr. Geidel began working at Three Rivers in 1985. He was working at PNC Park again this season as recently as Sunday.
"Ken was an exemplary employee who was with us for a long time," said Michael McDonald, district manager for Aramark vending services. "He certainly was one of the characters who added to the sporting event experience and had quite a following among the Pittsburgh fan base. He will be missed."
"Kenny, like all of our dedicated employees, is part of the fabric of the PNC Park experience," Pirates owner Bob Nutting said. "While all of us fans will always remember Kenny's famous vending calls while roaming the stands as far back as Three Rivers Stadium in the mid-80s, he was also a dedicated family man. Kenny was a father of three and a grandfather of two. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed."
"Ken provided great service to our fans and was part of the fabric of a Penguins game at Mellon Arena or Consol Energy Center," said David Morehouse, CEO of the Penguins. "The history of Pittsburgh sports is unique because it includes not just great players and coaches but also memorable vendors and ushers. Ken was part of that history. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family."
Mr. Geidel's inimitable style brought him a following on Facebook and Twitter. Fans young and old today have brought up memories of Mr. Geidel, even if they never had spoken to him.
"When I was much younger, my oldest brother would take me to Three Rivers for Pirates games, and one of my first priorities was to find the 'Coke here!' guy," said Justin Hunter, who now lives in Asheville, N.C. "It never took long. To me, hearing Mr. Geidel's voice at a baseball game was as natural as hearing the crack of the bat."