He’s been a staple at Dodgers Stadium for the past 55 years, and this morning, Roger Owens, known by fans simply as ‘The Peanut Man,’ called in to talk about his career as Dodgers Stadium’s legendary trick peanut vender.
With the Dodgers in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals this week, Roger has a packed house to sling stadium peanuts to, but he assures Gary Bryan and Lisa Stanley that he doesn’t need any extra time to warm up.
“I’ve been limbered up. I can do it in my sleep,” said Roger. “This is my 55th year pitching peanuts at the L.A. Dodgers.”
On how he got started doing trick tosses to fans in the seats, Roger tells us that was just all part of his natural athletic ability.
“It just came natural. In high school I played basketball and I was a pitcher also on the mound. I just actually started throwing them behind my back and under my leg, putting on a show in the L.A. Coliseum before the Dodgers Stadium opened in 1962,” said Roger. “It was just something I was always throwing the basketball behind my back long before Magic Johnson ever thought about it.”
Roger’s trick tosses quickly became a sensation at games and fans weren’t the only ones to take notice. Roger captured the attention of the entire nation and was turned into an instant celebrity.
He tells us that after his memorable appearance on the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson in 1976, his life “has never been the same since then.”
That appearance led to several other high-profile opportunities, including being invited to toss peanuts at Jimmy Carter’s inaugural party.
“I was flown to pitch peanuts to Jimmy Carter’s inaugural party, and I actually didn’t get to throw a bag of peanuts to him as he walked into one of his parties, because a secret service man grabbed my arm – they knew I was there and they knew my name,” Roger recalled. “They said ‘Roger, these peanut bags, have they been X-rayed for anything?’ and I said ‘well of course not’ and they said ‘we cannot allow you to throw a missile towards the President of the United States.”
For over five decades, Roger has perfected his pitch and rarely ever lets a bag drop. His aim is impeccable and always right on target, telling us that in his 55 years, he’s never once hit anyone in the face.
“Oh don’t even talk that way,” he laughed. “Everybody will tell you…every one of my throws is a strike…but no, nobody gets hit in the face.”
Through the ups and downs of Dodgers seasons, there’s always one pitcher fans can count on throwing perfect games every season, and that’s Roger.
“The only sad part is,” he quipped, “I’m still the only pitcher in the major leagues making less than one million a year.”
Listen to our full interview with Roger in the clip below.