Ball Park Franks
|Owner||Hillshire Brands (Tyson Foods)|
|Related brands||Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Kahn's, Bryan|
|Previous owners||Hygrade Food Products|
Ball Park Franks is a brand of hot dogs made by Tyson Foods and popularized in 1958 by the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. Ball Park Frank is the most consumed hot dog in America with 94.9 million consumers in 2017.
The history of Ball Park Franks began in 1958 when the Detroit Tigers became dissatisfied with the hot dogs being sold in their park. In 1959, a meat-packing company from Livonia, Michigan called Hygrade Food Products won a competition to be the exclusive supplier of hot dogs to the Tigers and Tiger Stadium. Hygrade employee Gus Hauf invented the recipe for the Ball Park Frank in 1958, which to this day remains a secret. Meanwhile, Hygrade launched a contest for its employees in order to come up with the best brand name for their stadium hot dogs, which was won by saleswoman Mary Ann Kirk, with the name "Ball Park Franks".
After becoming the official hot dog of the Detroit Tigers, and the official Briggs Stadium hot dog, Ball Park Franks went on sale commercially.
In 1985, Cincinnati schoolteacher Bob Wood visited every major league park, rating each on its hot dogs. In his book, Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks: and All the Wieners in Between, Wood ranked the Ball Park Frank at #1, citing that “A Ballpark Frank with a little mustard on the side is a dream fulfilled, and proof that worthy experiences never die in the tradition of a fine baseball park.”
Sara Lee acquired Hygrade from Hanson Industries in 1989. In 2014, Tyson Foods acquired Hillshire Brands, the corporation formerly known as the Sara Lee Corporation, and with it, the Ball Park Franks brand.[unreliable source]
Ball Park franks currently come in the following varieties:
- Original Meat Franks
- Original Beef Franks
- Bun Size Meat Franks
- Bun Size Beef Franks
- Turkey Franks
- Angus Beef Franks
- "Detroit's Ballpark Franks are deliciously legendary". Detroit Athletic Co. Blog. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- Video Gallery - Famous Speeches - The History Channel
- "Ball Park, *America's Number One Hot Dog Brand Heats up the Grill with Introduction of Two New Flavors to Whet Appetite". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- Callard, Abby. "A Decade in Food Trends". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- Team, Trefis. "Hillshire Brands Finalizes Merger With Tyson Foods". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
- "Ball Park® - Home". www.ballparkfranks.com. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
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