MILWAUKEE — Is Hank the Ballpark Pup…an imposter? That’s the claim being made by a blogger at “BrewCrewBall.com” — a Milwaukee Brewers baseball community, and others on social media.
According to the Brewers, Hank’s story started when he first appeared at “Spring Training” on February 17th, 2014, the day of the first workout for Brewers pitchers and catchers. That morning, he wandered up to staff at the Brewers Maryvale facility after clearly being a homeless stray for an extended period of time.
Hank weighed 11 pounds, had been run over by a car and had two chipped teeth.
Team officials attempted to find an owner, and when one could not be found, they rescued Hank. They took him to a veterinarian, where he was treated for a laceration. Brewers officials named him Hank in honor of Hank Aaron.
Hank’s story quickly went viral, and his connection to the team became official when he found a permanent home in Milwaukee. His arrival in Milwaukee via a Southwest Airlines flight on March 16th was a celebrated event, with hundreds of fans waiting outside of security to meet Milwaukee’s most famous four-legger.
Hank’s arrival in Milwaukee as attended by Chris Abele, the County Executive for Milwaukee County, and Tom Barrett, theMayor of Milwaukee.
Soon, fans met Hank at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
The team unveiled official Hank-themed merchandise. Over a thousand shirts, bearing the name “Hank” and the number “K9,” were sold on the first day.
Hank was adopted by Marti Wronski, who works as the team’s vice president and general counsel, and her family, who live in Whitefish Bay.
Hank is believed to be between two and three years old and a bichon frise mixed-breed.
By Opening Day 2014, Hank’s weight had increased to 15 pounds.
Hank’s 2014 culminated in Los Angeles as he was named “Dog of the Year” in January 2015 at the nationally-televised World Dog Awards.
The blog post at BrewCrewBall.com suggests the roots of the rumor that Hank the Ballpark Pup is an imposter go back to a tweet posted by Twitter user @akschaaf in December 2015.
In the blog post are a series of photos that compare the “original Hank” to the “replacement Hank.”
This blog post — and others on social media, claim “original Hank” and “replacement Hank” are two different dogs.
The blog post claims the “real” Hank the Ballpark pup died on June 30th, 2014 — leading to the Brewers’ subsequent collapse on the field.
What do you think? Is Hank the Ballpark Pup an imposter?
Adam McCalvy, a beat writer for the Brewers, said this on Twitter on Tuesday:
Tyler Barnes, the vice president of communications for the Brewers responded to the rumors in an article at MLB.com entitled: “Attention world: There’s only one Hank the Dog and he’s just fine.”