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Shea Stadium MVP: Hank The Tank

If I could give out an award for a Shea Stadium MVP, Hank, one of the many ushers there would be on the top of my list for sure. We loved seeing Hank at the top of the loge section ramp before every game and the smile on his face explained the feeling was mutual. We met randomly on a chilly April night in 2007. I was with a few friends and brought my Mom along. She was either crocheting a new scarf before the game or reading the newspaper, but she got to talking with Hank. My mom brought up that her father in law, my grandfather, was the head of the Press Gate back in the early 80's up until 1994. Ends up Hank was friends with my grandfather and the rest is history. We made a point to get tickets in Hank's section for almost every game and would always hit him off with a few bucks for being the man (which is now against Mets policy). At the time I was bartending full time and he would always have some crazy new drink recipe for me every game. The one that I'll never forget is the Bull Shot. It's in fact not a shot, but a drink and it sounds gross. Almost like a Bloody Mary but with beef bouillon. No thank you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz chilled beef bouillon
  • dash of Worchestershire, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste
  • celery salt (optional)
When 2008 was coming to a close he was still un-sure if the Mets would be hiring them to migrate over to the new building. His family said it was about time to retire but his German blood wasn't going down without a fight. After working at Shea since the beginning he wasn't ready to quit. When Citi first opened I asked other employees if they knew Hank. THEM: "Um...Hank?"  ME: "Yea, Hank. Old timer, German, short, really nice, worked at Shea..." THEM: "Oh yea, Hank!"  Seems like everyone I've ever in the Mets organization had gotten the same warm welcome from Hank. They just occasionally needed to be reminded who I was talking about. Ends up he didn't retire and did get invited to work over at Citi Field. Since the Mets adopted a new policy to rotate ushers every few innings I never knew where to find him. I did see him ONCE in the Promenade level early in 2009. I was walking around and we chatted it up for a bit. I haven't seen him since. Some employees told me he had some health problems, but of course was back to work the second he was feeling better. The man just couldn't quit. If anyone knows Hank please give him a call for me. I used to have his last name written down but I've since lost the paper. I really hope he's still kickin', my gut tells me he is. With the recent news that 10% of the non playing Mets staff were laid off odds are someones friend is left without a job. It's a shame, but the organization is broke and you can't spend money you don't have. If you have a positive story you'd like to share about a Shea or Citi employee please post it in the comments below. Parking attendants, cleaning crew, ticket sales, bartenders, cotton candy Karen, beer guy Pete, security, medics, vendors and ushers like Hank are the backbone of the game day experience. LGM!

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