After retiring from teaching in 2007, Joel Levin took on a project paying homage to his first career as a ballpark vendor, which he did from 1962-1976. Together with co-author and photographer Lloyd Rutzky, they wrote Wrigley Field’s Amazing Vendors and more recently released White Sox Park’s Amazing Vendors. These books share photographs and stories of the unique cast of characters that sold goods at baseball games during the 1970s.
Having authored three books during his years as a classroom teacher—including math workbooks and How to Get a Job in Education—Joel is no stranger to the world of writing and publishing. So when looking for something to keep him busy in retirement, returning to writing came naturally. His years of working in ballparks are full of fond memories and interesting tales, and along with Lloyd’s collection of candid photos, he knew that something special could come out of that collaboration. Arcadia Publishing brought the duo on with plans to publish two books as part of their “Images of Modern America,” series. Their second book, White Sox Park’s Amazing Vendors was released in June 2019. Wrigley Field’s Amazing Vendors was published in 2018.
As Joel and his colleague set out to promote their books, he suggests that he is “following his passion and making it happen.” His words of wisdom for other retirees are to “develop an interest that you never had time to do when you were a teacher. Do what you enjoy doing because that is what retirement should be about.”