CHICAGO -- Doug Sohn had come back from vacation after closing his famous Hot Doug's restaurant in October, thinking he was done for the time being with the business. Then Cubs owner Tom Ricketts sent him an email, and Sohn didn't hesitate to jump back into work.
On Friday, before the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Marlins, the self-proclaimed owner of Hot Doug's "Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium" introduced three new hot dogs to add to Wrigley Field's growing concession offerings. Sohn's hot dog offerings are one of seven new offerings behind the bleachers, including traditional ballpark fare, barbeque, Italian and beverages.
The opportunity for Sohn was one he couldn't pass up, having grown up in Chicago. Sohn wore his 40-year-old Cubs cap on Friday, the same one he wore taking the train to Wrigley and attending games.
"I stared at my email ... in total disbelief," Sohn said. "A friend asked me, 'Why this?' And I said, 'Because it's the Cubs.' It's as simple as that."
"There's no one that has more fun with hot dogs than Doug Sohn," added Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney. "His love of the Chicago Cubs and our love of his hot dogs and sausages made this a real perfect marriage."
The three hot dogs are named after Sohn's three favorite Chicago ballplayers from his youth. The "Carmen Fanzone" is a spicy Vienna Polish sausage with spicy brown mustard and caramelized onions, and the "Dave Kingman" is a bacon cheeseburger sausage with cola BBQ sauce and sharp cheddar cheese. And there's the "Rick Reuschel" -- named after Sohn's favorite player -- an atomic pork sausage with chipotle mustard and pepper jack cheese.
The arrangement works perfectly for Sohn, who gets to stay involved with what he enjoys without having to be at the ballpark every day.
Sohn will rotate options as the season progresses, though don't get too excited about his famous foie gras dogs or duck-fat fries. Still, he says he has plenty more players from the '70s for whom he can name hot dogs.
"A lot of it is what works in a ballpark," Sohn said. "I don't think we'll be doing blood sausage any time soon. But you never know."
But in Chicago, don't expect to see ketchup on one of those new hot dogs any time soon.
Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.