Top 5 Baseball Concessions of All Time

Hot Dog at the Ballpark

Baseball is filled with traditions that span more than 100 years! Concession stands and food at baseball games go back to at least 1893, yet there are anecdotes that go back to the 1870s and 1880s. 

Of course, no trip to the ballpark these days would be complete without indulging in some of the most delicious food at the concession stand. Whether you go the traditional route or even gourmet, plenty of food options exist. And Ballparks of America has its own on-campus eateries with crowd-pleasing favorites and more substantial fare.

See what we mean with our guide to the top five baseball concessions of all time!

1. Hot Dogs

Hot dogs were some of the first food served at ballparks. Legend has it that they were served at St. Louis Browns games in 1893, according to Ballpark Digest. However, the more accepted date for this meaty addition to baseball was 1905, when Harry Stevens sold his sausages at the Polo Grounds in New York.

With Major League Baseball stadiums looking to set themselves apart from others, there are tons of choices for hot dogs. For something more substantial, there is bratwurst. But regional favorites abound like the Tijuana-style El Xolito bacon-wrapped hot dog at Petco Park in San Diego.

Of course, you can get almost any kind of toppings on a hot dog. Chili, onions, sauerkraut, and jalapeño peppers are popular. Other toppings you could find at ballparks around the country include nacho chips, coleslaw, breakfast sausage, bacon-wrapped varieties, salsa, and pastrami. 

Our menu at Double Play cafe, next to the Pro Shop, has five different kinds of hot dogs, including a monster foot-long variety. Take a look at our bratwurst at the Dugout Concessions between the St. Louis and Chicago fields. You can also get a corndog there.

2. Peanuts

Roasted peanuts are a tradition that goes back to 1895, and then the song Take Me Out to the Ballgame became a staple in 1908 when the mention of peanuts and Cracker Jack entrenched itself into baseball lore. 

Peanuts also represent an awesome treat in the dugout as a quick snack for ballplayers. But sunflower seeds are also a tradition for players to munch on. Some pros might put a few whole sunflower seeds in their mouths, dislodge the edible kernel, and make a pile of sunflower husks to the side. 

We don’t serve any peanuts at Ballparks of America, but Silver Dollar City has excellent traditional food choices, including dry-roasted peanuts. Major League ballparks sell a whopping 4 million bags of in-shell peanuts to fans every year. Some people take peanut sales to an art form, with Roger Owens aka “The Peanut Man” at Dodger Stadium, doing trick throws accurate to 30 rows away!

3. Cracker Jack

Just like peanuts, Cracker Jack is a ballpark tradition. This started in Chicago in 1896 when Frederick Rueckheim served his sweet popcorn goodness after it failed to sell at the Columbia Exposition. The secret to Cracker Jack? Getting the molasses just right, which is still a closely guarded secret. And the name? In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the term “Cracker Jack” was slang for “first rate.” The marketing genius was born!

We don’t sell Cracker Jack at Ballparks of America, but it’s one of the all-time great concessions at America’s ballparks. If you’re ever at Chase Field in Arizona, look at the Apple Pie Chimichanga for dessert, piled high with vanilla frozen yogurt, caramel sauce, whipped cream, Cracker Jacks, and strawberries.

4. Nachos

Nachos, like hot dogs, can have a wide range of toppings. And some of the MLB parks go all-out. Rather than traditional chili, cheese, onions, and jalapeño peppers, some Major League stadiums have pulled pork, sliced beef, barbecued chicken, cucumbers, and even cauliflower. There’s also a tradition of getting your nachos in a collectible baseball helmet (not worn by the players, BTW). 

We’ve got some pulled pork nachos at our Double Play Cafe. It’s a popular choice for our baseball concessions because it’s meaty, soft, warm, and crunchy as well as a filling meal all at once.

5. Gourmet Food

As we said, MLB ballparks try to outdo each other with their baseball concessions. If you’re in Baltimore’s Orioles Park at Camden Yards or Nationals Park in Washington, DC, consider getting the staple crab cakes (a regional delicacy popular with Chesapeake Bay denizens). 

The Triple Play BBQ Sandwich at Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox, features Vienna Beef smoked brisket, barbecue pulled pork, jalapeño cheddar sausage, and sweet pickles on a Kaiser roll. There are also plenty of Italian-style sandwiches here.

And, of course, there are many ways to have a Philly cheesesteak sandwich if you’re ever watching a Phillies game. We’ve got some cheesesteak sandwiches and pulled pork sammies at our Double Play Cafe. Yum!

Youth Baseball Tournaments From March to October at Ballparks of America

We want your youth baseball team, family, and fans to have a blast at our facility. We’ve got plenty of excellent baseball concessions here, and are ready to serve. We’ve even got all-day breakfast food at Double Play Cafe.

If you have any questions or want to book your team for a tournament, contact us at Ballparks of America or call (417) 464-6333.


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