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Halethorpe man Clarence "Fancy Clancy" Haskett celebrates 40 years of slinging beers to O's fans

“I have people that I serve that I hang out with and when I say hang out with, I’ve been over their house, I’ve went to their weddings or their Bar Mitzvahs,” says Orioles vendor Clarence Haskett.
“I have people that I serve that I hang out with and when I say hang out with, I’ve been over their house, I’ve went to their weddings or their Bar Mitzvahs,” says Orioles vendor Clarence Haskett. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

If the Baltimore Orioles reach the World Series, fans of the Birds won't be the only ones celebrating until the end of October.

Clarence "Clancy" Haskett hopes his 40th season as a vendor for the Orioles lasts that long, so he can extend his ninth straight season as the top-selling vendor at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and make a few extra dollars.

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Haskett, a Halethorpe resident of three years, is as much of a fixture at Oriole games as Boog's Bar-B-Q, the Oriole Bird, "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" during the seventh inning stretch, and the "Charge!" rally call.

Haskett, 55, now nicknamed "Fancy Clancy," knows how to boost the energy of the crowd with a smile and a cold adult beverage, which he occasionally delivers behind his back with his leg draped over the rail in the aisle.

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Clarence "Clancy" Haskett once sold 40 cases of beer during a Baltimore Orioles opening day game at Memorial Stadium in 1988. He is in his ninth straight season as the top selling beer vendor at Camden Yards.
Clarence "Clancy" Haskett once sold 40 cases of beer during a Baltimore Orioles opening day game at Memorial Stadium in 1988. He is in his ninth straight season as the top selling beer vendor at Camden Yards. (Staff photo by Karl Merton Ferron)

Don't be surprised if Haskett knows the new fans in his sections by first name at the end of the game, or if regular fans settle up tabs at the end of the seventh inning when beer vendor sales end.

"I have people that I serve that I hang out with and when I say hang out with, I've been over their house, I've went to their weddings or their Bar Mitzvahs," said Haskett, who lived in Catonsville for 18 years until 2011.

One of those weddings was Jerry Collier's, who worked with Haskett from 1984 through mid-season of 1996.

Collier called himself a jinx because he started vending at Memorial Stadium the year after the Orioles won the World Series and he quit during the season of their first return trip to the playoffs.

But, meeting Haskett was no jinx. It was an inspiration.

"I was low man on the totem poll and I wanted to be a senior vendor and Clancy was the messiah of vendors," Collier said. "He was the most positive and spirited person. Even on a rainy day, he sees sunshine."

When the Orioles lost 12-0 on opening day to the Milwaukee Brewers on April 4, 1988, and started a record-setting 21-game losing streak, what could have been gloom and doom for the two vendors helped seal their friendship for a lifetime.

"I set a stadium record selling 40 cases of beer," said Haskett, who worked the right side of the upper deck, including section 34, where Wild Bill Hagy and his friends weren't afraid to down a few extra cold ones.

Collier, who worked the left field side of the upper deck, also had his best sales day ever — and sold 40 cases of beer.

"I walked over to him after the game and hugged him and said, 'No way, you could have beat me," Collier recalled. "We sold the same exact volume, almost 1,000 beers each."

Both were proud of their memorable accomplishments, but years later, Collier honored his co-record holder.

"I conceded to him because of the huge impact he has had on the city of Baltimore," Collier said. "I told him there is no longer an asterisk on the record."

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For the past 29 years, Haskett was in the top-four in sales and Collier was right there with him during the years they were together.

Collier was proud of the fact that he and Haskett both got a chance to work the stadium together, vending along with their sons.

Haskett has a son Cameron, 24, and daughter Nathalia, 21, who both graduated from Catonsville High.

Haskett is proud of the hard work of all the vendors like Collier.

"We've always had good vendors at Memorial Stadium and we've had good vendors at Camden Yards, and a lot of those vendors, and some of their techniques, I can't beat them today," he said. "But, for me, I've established a clientele over the course of time that people have bought from me for so many years. They are not going to buy from anybody else but me."

Haskett attributes it to hard work and hustle.

"If you see the top vendors there, we are drenched with sweat by the time we get off from work," he said.

Vendors start working after the National Anthem and finish after the seventh inning.

Haskett has had his mishaps, but there is no disabled list when you are trying to make a buck.

In 2013, he was grazed by Chris Davis' broken bat, but he has fallen just four times in 40 years.

Clarence "Clancy" Haskett has been vending at Baltimore Orioles games for 40 years.
Clarence "Clancy" Haskett has been vending at Baltimore Orioles games for 40 years. (Staff photo by Karl Merton Ferron)

One stumble happened three weeks ago and he left the stadium with a scar and happy memory to show for it.

"I went up to first aid and they patched me up, so I came back down in about 10 minutes and the whole section stood up and gave me a standing ovation. That was pretty funny," he said.

He's had more exciting times the past three seasons, thanks to the Orioles stellar play.

When the Orioles hosted the New York Yankees in two close playoff games in 2012, Haskett didn't have time to do anything but serve his customers.

"When you have a game like that and you are working and making money like that, you don't get to see one play," said Haskett, who recorded both games and watched them after he got home.

He was expecting that type of atmosphere when the Orioles host the playoff games against the Detroit Tigers on Oct. 2 and 3.

"When we come back for the playoffs, people are going to be into every single pitch," he said.

It's a feeling he's absorbed throughout the stadium during this magical year.

"Everybody that is there every single night can actually feel that this team is special," Haskett said.

He's an avid Orioles fan as well as a Baltimore Ravens fan and has two Ravens rooms in his basement and an Orioles room upstairs at his house. The rooms are decorated with memorabilia of Baltimore sports legends.

Clarence Haskett, a.k.a "Fancy Clancy," selling beers at Camden Yards during the 2005 season.
Clarence Haskett, a.k.a "Fancy Clancy," selling beers at Camden Yards during the 2005 season. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

But when the Orioles clinched the pennant at home, he felt like he was part of the team.

"I made my way out to the dugout and Adam Jones called me out on the field and said 'Clancy, get down here, you are a part of Baltimore'," he recalled. "I got down there and I had on my brand new Orioles sweatshirt and all of them started pouring beer all over me. They soaked my hat, soaked my shirt and everything. They were pouring beer on everybody."

Haskett prefers pouring beers for others, and started doing it with a twist at Memorial Stadium.

In 1990, at Memorial Stadium, he started pouring beer with the same hand in the same cup he was holding it in.

Then he started pouring two at the same time into different cups. He sometimes even did it behind his back.

"Then all the sudden, somebody said, 'Man, that's pretty fancy Clancy,' and I said that I liked that, and from that point on it became 'Fancy Clancy.'"

Despite the antics, he knows the only way to make money is hustle and that's where his track background helps.

He was an All-American sprinter at Catonsville Community College when he finished sixth in the nation in the 300 meters indoors.

He transferred to Eastern Kentucky University in 1980 and earned the nickname 'Clancy' based on one of the top sprinters in the country, Clancy Edwards, of the University of Southern California.

That was seven years after he started at Memorial Stadium selling sodas, caramel popcorn and hot dogs for Delaware North Companies, which owns vending rights at Camden Yards.

"My very first day at work, I made eight dollars and 25 cents, but guess what? I kept working," said Clancy, who is now vice president of All-Pro Vending.

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Along with president David McDonald, they have the vending contracts for M&T Bank Stadium and Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium.

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"I tell a lot of the new vendors that I hire down at Ravens stadium, if they have a day like that (making $8.25), they ain't coming back the next day. So vending is a job that ain't for everybody."

At Memorial Stadium, he often had to carry three cases of beer at once and sometimes has hauled five.

"I started serving beer when I was 17 years old and that's when I didn't look back," said Haskett, who has been a vendor at 37 different venues around the country.

One of his customers during the early years at Memorial Stadium was Baltimore attorney Stephen L. Miles, who had season tickets for many years.

"One of the things that stands out about Clancy is his enthusiasm for what he does," Miles said. "Through the years he has always had that smile and enthusiasm. He's just one of those guys that makes you feel better."

In addition to keeping the customers happy, Haskett made himself happy by working hard and making more money.

"In my early years, I didn't know nothing about hustling," he said. "I wasn't aggressive in my sales so I didn't understand that part of it. So after a few years, all that just came into play. By me being very competitive in my track and field, I just turned this vending thing into being competitive."

He gets a break from his competitiveness during the day when he teaches training classes around the state for the Maryland Highway Administration.

But he is not anonymous.

"Everyone recognizes me as the beer vendor," he said.

He plans to stay recognized as the vendor in the Land of Pleasant Living for years to come.

"As long as I'm healthy, I can do 50 years," said Haskett, who lifts weights five days a week during the off season to maintain his 200-pound frame.

He doesn't have one mentor, but takes a little advice from all of his co-workers.

"The way to be a good vendor is just communicate with other vendors and see what they do," he said.

Of course, rooting for the Orioles to go deep into the postseason doesn't hurt.

"If we go all the way to the World Series, I am going to be looking at paychecks into November," Haskett said with a smile.

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