"When we go to our meetings where every Minor League team has representatives, you have to wear a nametag, and it'll say West Virginia Power," said Jeremy Taylor, assistant general manager of the West Virginia Power.
"When you're walking through the lobby, multiple times, people will stop you and say 'you have that Wheeler Bob guy, right?' and they'll want to know the story behind him."
"It's good to be recognized in the industry for a fan, or I would call him an entity. Most teams have a vendor, but they don't have an entity."
His love of slinging hats (the best-seller), mini-baseball bats, balls, shirts, batting helmets and seat cushions -- many of which are $5 -- has fueled his success.
Taylor said Friedman averages about $15,000 in merchandise business.
"I can tell you that's pretty good for vending," Taylor said.
"He does this for the people. Walking through the ballpark ... by the time we get to the end, he's already talked to 65 people. It's almost like walking through the ballpark with the governor," he said.
Looking toward the future
Friedman wears his 1973 ring from when Dave Parker, Pittsburgh Pirate and then-Cincinnati Reds slugger, hit "the longest homerun in Minor League Baseball history."
At the old stadium in Watt Powell Park, Parker hit the baseball, which landed in a train as it was going by, and legend has it the train went from Charleston to Cincinnati, making it the longest homerun, Friedman said.
Those memories are ones he hopes to continue to make in the future.
"I overheard when I sold someone that someone said 'another generation of Wheeler Bob fans,' and that was touching," Friedman said.
In addition to those heartwarming moments, he'll continue to tell jokes, of course.
"You would think your humor would burn out," he said. "These people come here every night, and you're able to joke. You can't continue to joke if people don't laugh. I can't continue to put fruit in front of you if you don't eat it."
The humor of the fans makes the game for him, Friedman said.
"I don't think you'd be selling the numbers if people didn't like you or your humor was offensive. You have to judge ... these people are putting money toward supporting baseball in Charleston. They're putting money where their heart is."
Taylor said next year would mark the 10th season at the ballpark, so they will continue to roll out events like this. He said this year they celebrated the anniversary of Toastman, fan and Charleston assistant mayor Rod Blackstone who cheers and burns toast when opposing players strike out.
The giveaway will begin at 6 p.m. when the gates open, and the first 1,000 fans will receive a mini-bat.
For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/yc4le78.