That said, it has absolutely nothing to do with fireworks, patriotism or Will Smith movies. It has everything to do with hot dogs.
For the last two years, I've had the pleasure of talking with competitive eater Pat Bertoletti on the eve of the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating contest. And this past week, he dropped a bombshell on me.
Former Cincinnati Reds reliever Frank Pastore is an eating machine.
You see, "World Famous" Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas has a challenge and Pastore took them to task. You can read up on the rules HERE or just know this...they want you to eat 72 ounces of steak.
But getting back to Pastore...this is what their website has to say about the hurler (of baseballs, not meat):
Frank Pastore, who was a professional pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, ate the complete steak dinner in 9 and 1/2 minutes (May 3, 1987). Pastore actually has eaten the steak dinner seven times. On his first effort, in February 1976, he finished the steak in 21 minutes. He held that record for 21 years.
I had no idea.
So I hit the Googles and found a 2008 article where Pastore, currently a radio host detailed his exploits.
The first time I did it was in February 1976, on my way to my first Spring Training with the Cincinnati Reds, and I did it in 21 minutes. That fall, on my way home, I completed it in 19 minutes. The next spring, 17; on the way home, 15; the following spring, 13; then 11 on the way home in 1978.
My fastest time (and the world record for almost 21 years) was set in May 1987 in which I did it in 9½ minutes. I thought it would be my last time through town, since my career was coming to an end, and I was right. I haven’t been back to the most famous steak house in the world since then.
I’ve always been so proud of The Record. In many ways, I’m more known for The Steak than I am for my 8-year mediocre pitching career or my radio show in Los Angeles.
The current Big Texan champ? Bertoletti's rival Joey Chestnut. "Joey Jaws" ate the entire meal in eight minutes and 52 seconds back in March 2008.
Can someone please pass the Tums?