Author Visits South Coast To Talk About His Two Unique Careers: Actor, and Yankee Stadium Vendor
The New York Yankees are making a rare visit to Los Angeles this weekend, to play the Los Angeles Dodgers. Perhaps no one will be watching closer than an author who’s speaking on the South Coast.
Actor and director Stewart Zully grew up in the Bronx, but spent four decades as a vendor at Yankee Stadium before moving to LA. Zully has written a book about his experiences, called “My Life In Yankee Stadium.”
It takes readers through his humble background, which includes appearing in a Sopranos episode one day, and then in his vendor role at Yankee Stadium serving Sopranos star James Gandolfini days later.
Zully got his start at Yankee Stadium in the 1970’s, while a 15 year old in high school. He says it was fun, but he took it seriously as he went to college, and acting school and needed the money.
Zully worked at the original Yankee Stadium, was there after it was renovated, and then at the modern replacement which was built. He says there’s a hierarchy to being a stadium vendor, with the number of games you work, and the number of years leading to better posts.
Zully stuck with the vendor’s job, even has his career flourished. He did movies like “Vice” and “Bonfire of the Vanities.” And, he appeared in TV series like “Law and Order,” “Burn Notice,” and had a recurring role as James Gandolfini’s accountant in “The Sopranos.” Zully says he really connected with the late actor, who showed him that there's nothing wrong with taking a basic job to pay the bills while you try to make your dreams come true.
As he got more acting roles, people would sometime recognize him at the stadium. But, Zully says his most memorable night working for the Yankees came in 1996. It was the night the Yankees won Game Six of the World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves to become World Champions. He and his friend were at the stadium long after everyone had gone home, and he ran around the bases, and smoke a cigar in the Yankee’s dugout.
Like a veteran major league baseball pitcher, Zully suffered a shoulder injury. After an operation, he retired from the Yankees organization in 2012. He says with his favorite Yankees now long retired, he’s now more of a fan of the sport than a team.
Zully will be in Santa Barbara Thursday night (8/22) to talk about his book, “My Life In Yankee Stadium.” The 7 p.m. talk at Chaucer’s Books is free, and open to the public. And, in keeping with the spirit of the book, Cracker Jacks will be served.