From SABR member Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus on May 10:
Oh, the mascot. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are as much a part of today’s game as nine-figure contracts, HD ribbon boards, and journalistic digs at Alex Rodriguez.
These costumed, oversized creatures are clearly intended to appeal to the elementary school set, with their bright colors, funny shapes, and/or cartoon influences, but one need not look far to see that they often appeal to much older groups. The Racing Sausages, Mariner Moose, the Phillie Phanatic… people of all ages get excited by these classic mascots on a nightly basis.
Mascots, as we know them today, haven’t always been a part of baseball. Clubs may have had a small animal or a particularly charming child or young man of some sort rooting them on, but their “mascot” status is a bit different than what we see today.
The official, costumed mascots that we know and, ahem, love today came into being in the 1960s and 1970s, beginning with Mr. Met and the Phillie Phanatic (by way of San Diego’s “Famous Chicken”). Below is a first attempt at an “exhaustive” look at baseball’s mascots, organized by team and sorted roughly by debut. I say “exhaustive” because I’m confident there are holes here and there. Not all mascots catch on and, more often than not, teams make very little fuss about a mascot’s debut.
Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13856
Originally published: May 10, 2011. Last Updated: May 10, 2011.