Kenny Geidel had a stadium full of friends.
The beloved PNC Park vendor with the loud and unmistakable voice had a work ethic that never tired, and an obvious passion for a job at Pittsburgh Pirates games that he held for more than 30 years.
Geidel, who lived in the Wilkinsburg portion of Regent Square on Biddle Avenue, died Monday night at the age of 64.
“In all honesty, we were surprised,” said Paul Geidel, Sr., Kenny’s brother. “He worked down there for years and was really popular. People wanted his autograph. It’s a phenomenon.”
Paul said his brother had passed out while working on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. He described the death as sudden, as Kenny Geidel died Monday night after doctors found complications after a hernia.
Kenny was Paul’s older brother. He would have been 65 years old in September.
“We grew apart a little bit over the years,” he said. “I kind of have a feeling of emptiness. He was a good guy, good kid -- wouldn’t hurt a flea.”
Geidel said he was surprised at the outpouring from the Pittsburgh community as people learned of his brother’s death.
“It shows he had more friends than I knew about,” he said. “They weren’t personal friends, but he had a relationship with the folks who went down there all the time.”
Kenny was known for selling lemonade, cotton candy and also for his intensely loud, classic and high-pitched cry of “Beer here!” In addition to working at PNC Park, he also was a vendor at Heinz Field and the Civic Arena, most recently at Consol Energy Center.
“He loved doing it, there is no question,” his brother said. “It didn’t bother him getting up or working at the odd times. He was a trooper. He went to work. It didn’t matter what time it was.”
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Pittsburgh Pirates Owner Bob Nutting expressed the organization’s grief over Geidel’s death.
“We at the Pirates family are saddened by the passing of Kenny Geidel,” Nutting said. “Kenny, like all of our dedicated employees, is part of the fabric of the PNC Park experience.”
Nutting also discussed Geidel’s life outside of the ballpark.
“While all of us fans will always remember Kenny’s famous vending calls while roaming the stands as far back as Three Rivers Stadium in the mid ‘80s, he was also a dedicated family man,” Nutting said. “Kenny was a father of three and a grandfather of two. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.”
Now, fans will have to pass on their own memories of Kenny.
“They won’t be hearing that voice anymore, that’s for sure,” his brother said.
A viewing for Geidel is Wednesday night at in Swissvale from 6 to 8 p.m. with a funeral service there Thursday at 1 p.m.