Beloved vendor 'Ralph the Program Guy' passes away

Fixture at countless Toronto events suffered a stroke in July

Beloved vendor 'Ralph the Program Guy' passes away

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' community lost one of its most unique and charismatic personalities this week with the passing of Ralphael Platner.

The name might not ring a bell to a lot of Toronto fans, but the face probably does. "Ralph the Program Guy" had been a fixture at sporting events and concerts in the city since the 1960s and rarely missed a big day.

Platner suffered a stroke in July that caused him to miss most of the Blue Jays' 2014 season. Unfortunately, he was unable to recover and passed away earlier this week at the age of 67.

A funeral service for Platner was held on Wednesday afternoon at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Toronto. He had been around the Blue Jays since their inaugural season in 1977, and he also was a familiar face selling programs at Raptors, Argonauts and Maple Leafs games, along with a countless number of other events.

Platner was a hit with the fans, and it was that interaction that kept him coming back year after year.

"I guess it's because I like to meet the people, the experiences I have just seeing shows, working shows and the whole experiences of vending," Platner once told the CBC. "You know, it's just a wonderful feeling that you can interact with people."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.