Like most boys who grew up in The Bronx in the 1960s and ’70s, Steve Lazarus dreamed of one day suiting up at Yankee Stadium.
But it wasn’t the pinstripe uniform he was after — young Lazarus was captivated by the beer man’s gear.
“My dad took me to a game when I was 8 years old, and I was fascinated by the beer vendor and hot-dog guys,” Lazarus told The Post. “They got to go to every game and get paid for it.”
He started selling ice cream at the old stadium in 1977, the year Reggie Jackson was crowned Mr. October. Lazarus soon graduated to beer and until last fall, when he retired, the 59-year-old served celebrities such as Larry David, Billy Crystal, Jack Nicholson and “lottery lady” Yolanda Vega. He met Pope John II during the pontiff’s 1979 visit, worked through the team’s decade of dominance, and even earned a two-game suspension for a tense interaction with former Yankee and Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves.
In his memoir, “The Pope and Me at Yankee Stadium: My Life as the Beer Man and Stand-Up Comic,” Lazarus dishes about it all.
“I would tell jokes in between innings and certain [fans] would only buy from me,” said Lazarus, who also tours the country doing stand-up comedy. “People always want to know what it’s like to be a beer guy. My standard answer is, ‘It’s like being a big-breasted woman. I’ve got the straps digging into my shoulders, my back is always killing me, and the guys are always staring at my cups.’ ”
He once ran into former team owner George Steinbrenner in an elevator and told him that joke.
“He laughed and said, ‘Good luck.’ It wasn’t the same as meeting the pope, but it was similar,” Lazarus said.
‘It’s like being a big-breasted woman. I’ve got the straps digging into my shoulders, my back is always killing me, and the guys are always staring at my cups.’
– Yankee Stadium beer man Steve Lazarus
The Queens resident, who never married and has no kids, hustled between his suds gig, comedy and a full-time job as an accountant. Being the beer guy, he said, “was an honor, but I had to follow a lot of rules. We had same the grooming rules as the players: no facial hair, piercings or visible tattoos.”
And no talking to the players — a rule Lazarus once broke in 2011 when he saw then-Red Sox pitcher Aceves.
“I made a joke and said, ‘Do you have ID?’ He grabbed his crotch and said, ‘Yeah, I got your ID right here.’ I ended up getting suspended.”
As it does with players, the stadium eventually took a toll on his body. “It was getting to the point where I was putting on knee and elbow pads, taking Advil. It was taxing. I have permanent injuries.”
Plus, the business was slowing down for Lazarus, who earned commission on sales. “At the new stadium, I was making 50 percent less because now people don’t [stay] in their seats. And there’s places to buy beer all over.”
He called actors David, Crystal and Nicholson “OK” tippers and adds that, although he’s a die-hard Yankee devotee, he has nothing but love for Red Sox fans.
“The only good thing about Boston fans is that they like getting drunk. They drank well,” said Lazarus. “And more importantly, they tipped well.”
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