Steve Stone and Jason Benetti. Steve Stone and Jason Benetti. (NBC Sports Chicago.)

Athletes have often wound up with odd offseason or even in-season jobs while competing in leagues that don’t pay or don’t pay much. But even by those standards, one of the things current Chicago White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone did during his minor league career seems strange.

On a spring training NBC Sports Chicago broadcast of a White Sox game against the San Francisco Giants with Jason Benetti Thursday, Stone talked about a past odd minor league offseason job he held. That was selling pre-paid funerals. And he also discussed how that contrasted with one of his other jobs, which was working for Welcome Wagon. Here’s how this started, with Benetti bringing up Giants’ infield prospect Brett Wisely’s offseason job at Lululemon:

Benetti says “Brett Wisely, in the offseason, worked at the athleticwear company Lululemon.” Stone says “Very nice.” Benetti asks “Did you have an offseason job while you were playing, while you were in the minors?” Stone says “Well, I did a couple of different things. One, I sold pre-paid funerals.” Benetti cracks up, and Stone continues “It wasn’t the happiest job around, but that’s a definite job.”

Benetti then goes “Somehow, that’s not a surprise to me.” Wisely then hits a home run, and Benetti beautifully pivots to the game action with “6-1. Little did we know that at-bat was going to be a pre-paid funeral for the baseball. 6-1.” Stone laughs, and Benetti continues “I thought you were going to say phone cards! You said funerals!” Stone laughs, says, “Funerals, yeah, that was it” and then provides analysis of the home run: “There’s one of those sliders that lines up a souvenir.” Benetti then goes “Okay, quick follow-up question, what in the world was that racket like?” And the story then continues in this second clip, which even includes a nice shoutout to this site:

Stone says “Well, it was unique, let’s put it that way. I didn’t do it very long, because it was depressing, honestly. You’ve got to go in the house and say ‘You don’t look too healthy today, so let me pass this by you.’ Benetti says “That’s literally what you did in the offseason?”, Stone responds “Yeah,” and Benetti adds “So what was your pitch to people?” Stone then says “If it’s going to happen, you might as well plan ahead!”

Benetti then asks “So what deal were you offering these people that you were being entirely rude to?” Stone says “Well, we couldn’t do a two-for-one deal, that’s never any good. We’d just get it down, because the prices of funerals were going up.” Benetti says “Okay,” Stone says “Yeah, that was pretty much it,” and Benetti says “So there was funeral inflation that you were trying to stave off for your future clients?” Stone says “Exactly right. Yeah, it wasn’t a great job, but you had to pick up a few bucks wherever you could, you know?” and laughs. Benetti then asks “How did you select your clientele? Did you go door-to-door?” and Stone says “They gave you a list of, I guess, people that had been sick recently. I don’t know.”

Benetti then says “There is a zero percent chance this doesn’t end up on Awful Announcing, zero percent chance.” (We’re happy to make that prophecy come true). He then goes on with “So that was what you did in the offseason?” and Stone goes “Yeah, that was one of them. I did a few. The Welcome Wagon.” Benetti cracks up and goes “No way! You were both a pre-paid funeral salesman and a Welcome Wagon representative?” and Stone cracks “Yeah, you didn’t know if you were coming or going!”

That is a delightful discussion of some very quirky offseason jobs. And a seventh inning of a spring training game where the score is 6-1 is a great place to have it, especially considering that the Giants (who drafted Stone in the fourth round in 1969, a year after Cleveland drafted him in the 16th round but he didn’t sign) were the team whose organization Stone was playing in during this time. He pitched for the Fresno Giants, the Amarillo Giants, and the Phoenix Giants (twice in the latter case).

It’s not clear where exactly Stone was selling prepaid funerals. But it’s great that we’ve now found this out about his past. And he and Benetti did a terrific job of working that story into their game call, even if they were briefly interrupted by a drive to deep right field and a prepaid funeral for the baseball. They’re a fun broadcast pair to listen to, and they’re going to be calling White Sox games for NBC Sports Chicago for a while to come thanks to new deals signed earlier this year.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter; top photo of Stone and Benetti from NBC Sports Chicago]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.