Patrick Kersey drove in from Toronto, Ohio to see the Pirates play the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday at PNC Park, but it didn’t feel the same to him. “You could hear his voice anywhere in the park,’ said Kersey, referring to Kenny Geidel the ‘Lemonade!” vendor who passed away on Monday. “He worked harder than anybody in here, running up and down the steps selling drinks. He was awesome.”
Those sentiments were shared by many who attended Tuesday’s game. Forget the fact that the Pirates were one game above .500 for the 1st time in 7 seasons this late into the year. Geidel had been working as a vendor for close to 30 years in Pittsburgh, making a living selling everything from drinks to sweets like cotton candy.
“I remember when he first started working games,” said Thomas Congdon, AKA. T.C. who in his own right is as well knows as was Geidel for his infamous cries to purchase what he’s shilling at games. “I started doing this in 1983 and Kenny began in 1984. He always hustled and worked hard. It’s a shame we lost him.”
Geidel worked every major sporting venue in town including Three Rivers, Pitt Stadium, The Civic/Mellon Arena and all three of the new facilities in town. But it’s his work at PNC Park screaming “Lemonadeeeeee!” that might have captured most people’s attention. Others do remember him for different things.
“I used to buy cotton candy off him at Pens games,” said Kersey. Even my kids loved hearing him scream ‘Lemonade’ while at games, but yeah, it’s different now. Not hearing him scream that here at the park is strange tonight.”
Congdon said that the vendors got together before the game and had a moment of silence in Geidel’s honor. Before Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers, the club held a short video scoreboard tribute in his honor, including a moment of silence.
Pirates owner Bob Nutting issued a statement regarding the passing of Geidel. “We at the Pirates family are saddened by the passing of Kenny Geidel. Kenny, like all of our dedicated employees, is part of the fabric of the PNC Park experience.
Steve Musciano, General Manager for Aramark at PNC Park said that his vendor number would be retired and that a collection is being taken by co-workers to erect a plaque in his honor.
News of his death on Tuesday went viral after his daughter announced that her father had passed on a Facebook page dedicated to Geidel. The news hit Twitter and it spread quickly, as thousands gave their admiration for the hard-working Edgewood native. Even Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm chimed in with words via Twitter saying “It’d be great for the Pirates to stretch this winning streak to four, just to tack one on for Kenny Geidel.”
Penguins president David Morehouse issued the following statement about Geidel on Tuesday. “Ken provided great service to our fans and was part of the fabric of a Penguins game at Mellon Arena or CONSOL Energy Center. The history of Pittsburgh sports is unique because it includes not just great players and coaches, but also memorable vendors and ushers. Ken was part of that history. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.”
Geidel was 64. He is survived by his wife and was the father of four children and two grandchildren. The cause of his death was not announced. No funeral arrangements have been made public.
John Phillips is the author of this article. JP can be heard hosting weekend talk-shows and anchoring sports updates on 93.7 The Fan.