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Part 3: Six Degrees
of hot dogs

Page 2

Hey, kids! It's a small world after all. Thanks to the world of sports, you can connect the two greatest Japanese performances of the past week!

Six Degrees of Separation

Takeru Kobayoshi
Although he weighs just 131 pounds, Japanese business student Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayoshi set new consumption standards on the Fourth of July, when he devoured 50 hot dogs in just 12 minutes, doubling the previous record. Showing his championship hunger, Kobayoshi said afterward he can eat 20 more. "I have never seen anything like this before," said Tom Maher, spokesman for the International Federation of Competitive Eating. "He has truly redefined the sport."
  Perhaps, but could he beat Homer Simpson, who was such a notorious eater that he nearly put The Frying Dutchman out of business on All U Can Eat Night? (His feat is commemorated with a sign referring to him as "Bottomless Pete, Nature's Cruelest Mistake.") One fan with a lot of time on his hand counted 40 references to hot dogs in "The Simpsons." Homer Simpson
Babe Ruth Notorious eater Babe Ruth supposedly ate a dozen hot dogs between games of a doubleheader, 38 fewer than Kobayoshi. The wimp. Still, hot dogs are synonymous with baseball. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, fans will eat 26.8 million hot dogs at ballparks this summer, including 1.8 million at Cleveland's Jacobs Field. (And Kobayoshi will only eat 15 percent of those.)  
  Actress Jayne Mansfield was "Miss Hot Dog Ambassador" in 1950, bringing up the obvious question, "Is that a hot dog in your pocket or are you just happy to see the ambassador?"
Jayne Mansfield
Rickey Henderson And, of course, Rickey Henderson has served as baseball's unofficial Mr. Hot Dog since his major league debut in 1979.  
Ichiro Suzuki replaced Rickey at the top of the Mariners lineup this season and received the most votes of any player for Tuesday's All-Star Game. Earlier this season, Ichiro told Page 2 that his favorite American foods were pizza and hot dogs.
Ichiro Suzuki

Jim Caple is a senior writer for

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