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Sports fans say goodbye to Ralph Platner, 'The Program Guy'

10/15/2014 07:42 EDT | Updated 12/15/2014 05:59 EST
If you purchased a program at a Blue Jays game any time in the past few decades, it's very likely that Ralph 'The Program Guy' Platner handled the transaction.

Known for his long wiry frame, thick 50s-style glasses and deep knowledge of sports trivia, Planter was a permanent fixture dashing through the stands at Toronto sporting events. His history of hawking programs at games and concerts predates Exhibition Stadium.

Platner died last week at age 67 after suffering a stroke in July.

CBC's Jamie Strashin profiled Platner back in 2007. At the time, Platner estimated he'd worked some 2,300 baseball games alone. An untold number of concerts and football games add to that total. 

During his interview with Strashin, Platner charged up and down the stands, selling programs at a frantic pace.

Harvey Weinberg, who watched Platner at work for years, said 'The Program Guy' was a hit with fans who appreciated the hustle he showed in the stands, which on many days out-shined the team behind him on the field.

"His style, his hustle, he's fun to be around," said Weinberg. "I've seen him almost since Day One at Exhibition Stadium, running through the stands, selling programs. Very knowledgeable, knows a lot about the game. We go back in history, back to the 50s, 60s. He's like wine, he got better with age."

In his conversation with Strashin, Platner credited his on-the-job workout and Pilates with keeping him in shape.

Platner told Strashin that it's the interaction with fans that kept him coming back to work, 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," he said. "You know, it's just a wonderful feeling that you can interact people."

A funeral for Platner is scheduled for today at Mount Sinai Memorial Park. Funeral information is posted here.

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