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RIP Don West, the greatest TV pitchman ever

Don West has succumbed to cancer. The television pitchman and professional wrestling broadcaster was 59.

With all due respect to Billy Mays, Ron Popeil, Anthony Sullivan and the ShamWow guy, West is the greatest TV salesman ever. No one — and I mean no one — has ever moved baseball cards, Beanie Babies, Star Wars memorabilia and samurai swords like he did. The guy literally had two Saturday Night Live sketches about him!

“Chewbacca with the Brewers” kills me every time.

I remember waking up early on Saturdays when I was a kid and watching Shop at Home on CN8 (for whatever reason we were considered in the Philadelphia market for some stations) to kill time until everyone else was up. And there was just something mesmerizing about sweaty guys dressed like they picked their outfits out of the lost and found box screaming about Jose Canseco rookie cards.

I turned 33 in October. My sister-in-law is in college. And I often think about how there are things I grew up with that must seem so ridiculous to people her age. Like Blockbuster and Sam Goody and flip phones. Buying crap off of paid programming shows in the wee hours of the morning would definitely fit that bill. But how could you not get sucked in by this?

I regret to inform you Erin the Irish Bear did not end up covering the down payment for my yacht.

RIP, Mr. West. I am confident you have already talked St. Peter into buying that limited edition Wayne Gretzky lithograph.

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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.