I could go on about any sport after this long weekend, but no, July 4th weekend in the sports world means one thing to me, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at high noon at Nathan’s Original Coney Island location.
Growing up in NJ and having lots of family in Brooklyn allowed me access to Coney Island many times. I loved the rides the most as a kid, but I also loved a Coney Island hot dog as well. My dad told me about the contest when I was 7 and ever since I think I have been enamored by it.
Originally started in 1914, the contest has run continuously in some form or another for 95 years. For decades the upper limit of hot dogs eaten was 25. Most years the winners would eat anywhere from 9 to 20 dogs to take the championship. Then came along a a 128 lb asian named Kobayashi, who turned the event into a sport. The first year he competed, he blew away the competition eating 50 hot dogs and buns. He remained the champ for 6 straight years. Setting the bar higher each year.
Then Joey Chestnut come onto the seen and he and Kobayashi battled for the next few years with Chestnut walking away with three wins while Kobayashi only had one. Kobayashi has not signed a contract with Major League Eating for two years and Chestnut has won both including this year’s event. So when I heard that both Kobayashi and Chestnut have A&G cards, I had to get one of each for my personal collection.
Both cards are considered commons, and only run about one to two dollars each. Chestnut has an autographed card as well and that goes up and down based on what day of the year it is. December the cheapest and July the most expensive. I’ve seen it as low as $5 and as high as $200 for limited edition ones. Chestnut also has a Sport Kings card that I have only seen one of (pictured below), its on eBay right now for $35.