Eating wiener nearly kills pitcher

Jamming hot dogs down one’s throat for the sake of winning a contest — it’s become an Independence Day tradition almost as American as fireworks and cookouts. But apparently it is an endeavor best left for the pros — one college pitcher nearly died doing his Joey Chestnut imitation late last month.

Brian Read is a sophomore at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Miss. He is currently pitching for the Seacoast Mavericks, a collegiate summer baseball team in Portsmouth, NH. A cardinal rule of pitchers is not coming out of the stretch too early. On June 30, Read started a different body motion a little early, and the Grim Reaper nearly called him for a balk.

“I started swallowing prematurely,” he told

Turns out Read was not properly chewing the hot dog he was racing to eat as part of a one-dog eating contest during the seventh-inning stretch of a Mavs game. He placed last, vomited and soon found himself unable to swallow anything, including water and his own saliva.

The next day Read called a doctor to complain that his throat didn’t work.

They gave him the good stuff — morphine — hoping to relax him so much the obstruction would clear on its own. Turned out they just needed to go down in there with the tools and when they did, they pulled out a 1.5-inch length of unchewed, undigested hot dog.

Finally, Read got to swallow again.

“I don’t think a simple drink of water has ever tasted so good,” he said.