Harry M. Stevens

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Harry M Stevens (1856-1934) was a food concessionaire from Derby, England who has been variously attributed[1][2] [3] as the inventor of the hot dog, but has nevertheless been credited with being America's foremost ballpark concessionaire.[3]

Harry Stevens who was born at Litchurch in Derby, England in 1856 but emigrated to Niles, Ohio in the 1880s. On arrival in the States, he became obsessed with baseball and quickly made his mark by designing and selling the sport's first scorecard - a design still in use to this day. By 1900, Stevens had secured contracts to supply refreshments at several Major League ballparks across the US. He also began to sell scorecards to fans with the phrase You can't tell the players without a scorecard.[3]

Stevens is credited with telling the story that at a Giants game on a cold April day in 1901 he was unable to sell ice cream, and instead ordered his staff to collect together 'dachshund sausages', whereupon he stuffed them into bread rolls and shouted Get your red hots!. A cartoonist, recording the event, was reputed to have been unable to spell dachshund, so wrote hot dogs instead.[3]


Despite many disputes over the claim to Stevens having been the inventor of the hot dog, in early 2013 Derby City Council and Derby Civic Society jointly announced they would erect a Blue plaque to his memory on his first marital home at 21 Russell Street in Derby, England.[4][5]

On June 30, 2013, Niles, Ohio resurrected "Harry Stevens Hot Dog Day". The downtown event included live music, weiner dog races and costume contests, a hot dog dressing (sauce) contest, baseball clinic, and cornhole tournament among other activities. Food and merchandise vendors were also on-hand. [1]


  • Rippon, Nicola, Derbyshire's Own, The History Press, 2006, ISBN 0750942592.