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Not my “brother-from-another-mother,” “brother in Razorback Fandom,” or anything like that. He’s my actual brother. Dallas Bartholomew, Prairie Grove Tigers class of ’02, commercial real estate appraiser, uncle-extraordinaire, and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.
That makes me about as qualified to tell his story as anyone, I guess.
For the past several years, since about 2018, as often as he can, my brother has been carrying a roughly 4-by-3 foot potato sign with him to the Razorback Baseball games, and dutifully displaying it at nearly every opportunity during the games.
You can see it held high when the Hogs have runners in scoring position and need a big hit, or when one of their pitchers has a two-strike count on the opposing team’s slugger. You’ll also see it joyfully bouncing around in the packed Hog pen when one of the Razorbacks gets a run-scoring hit, a double play, a Hog hitter slaps one over the wall for a homer, or walks one off for a big victory.
Dallas (The Tater Guy), the tater, and a new friend. / Photo: @tater_guy
And while the potato sign doesn’t have nearly the tradition of things like the Hog Call, Larry Shank’s ‘This is Baseball’ chant from the press box, bases loaded beer hats, or Hognoxious and his buddies hollering at the umps from the third baseline, spotting the Tater Guy in the Hog Pen after a big play is becoming just another thing that is fun about the spring and early summer at Baum.
So, why the potato, you might be asking? Is it about home runs, often referred to as “taters?” Is it a reference to a certain viral video referencing mashed potatoes and what an overly-excited Hog fan plans to do to them after a Razorback win? (Google it. Actually, don’t.)
It’s neither of those things.
Instead, it’s kind of a long story that is a bit hard to understand. You kind of had to be there. Beers may have been involved.
As my brother tells it, when former Razorback (and Fayetteville High School Alum) Carson Shaddy was a freshman in 2015, Dallas and his buddies in the Hog Pen took a liking to him as a player.
“Shaddy. That sounds Irish,” Dallas decided one day and shouted in his best Irish accent when he would come to bat, “Hey Shaddy. Eat your taters!”
The first time that happened, on the very next pitch, Shaddy got a hit.
Soon, it became a thing that happened every game, so much so that a few years later, Dallas’ friend that worked at a local print shop gifted him a giant potato sign to go along with his Shaddy chant.
The original tater sign, now retired after being signed by former Hog Carson Shaddy / Photo: @tater_guy
“That’s how it started,” he said. “It was just a dumb joke that kind of grew from there.”
The original sign depicted a large pile of potatoes on a wood background, a stock photo no doubt, printed in a giant square.
Shaddy became aware of the tradition in his senior year, and eventually signed the original version of the potato sign.
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