Monday Mascots #5: Phillie Phanatic

2 11 2015

Phillie Phanatic College Game Day

I haven’t done one of these since July, and that just seems too long.  So here’s my 5th mascot post.  I thought about doing something for the Royals given the fact that they just won the World Series.  But the Phillie Phanatic was on College Game Day this Saturday, and I thought it would be fun to do one of baseball’s most recognizable mascots.

This is the fifth mascot post I’ve done – but it’s the first of one that’s actively “working” for an MLB team.

Mascot/Team:   Phillie Phanatic (Philadelphia Phillies, 1978-current)

Phillie Phanatic

Background:   After the 1977 season, the Phillies’ Vice President, Bill Giles, wanted a family friendly mascot to draw more kids to Veterans Stadium.  He called up Jim Henson, who referred him to a former assistant who had helped develop Sesame Street.  Wade Harrison and Bonnie Erickson of Harrison/Erickson Mascots (now known as Acme Mascots) were hired to come up with the new mascot.

Dave Raymond, an intern for the Phillies at the time, first donned the Phillie Phanatic suit in the mascot’s debut on April 25, 1978 in a game against the Cubs.  He would wear it for 15 more years.  After the 1993 season, Tom Burgoyne took over those duties.

During those 15 years, Raymond turned the Phanatic into the most recognizable mascot, along with the San Diego Chicken, in baseball.  Raymond modeled his actions and movements around Daffy Duck, and the mascot has become linked with the Phillies and the city.  So much so, that in 1983 when Giles bought the Phillies, he paid $250,000 to Harrison/Erickson for the rights to the Phanatic.

He drives around the park in an ATV, and the Phanatic has no qualms in mocking opposing fans and players, becoming a pioneer in this mascot trait.  This was most evident in August 1988 when Dodger manager Tommy LaSorda got fed up with the Phanatic.  The Phanatic delighted Phillie fans by running the ATV over a dummy with LaSorda’s jersey on it.  In between innings, LaSorda came out and took the dummy away, giving the mascot a few whacks while he was at it.  The two have supposedly made up, though Tommy still says he didn’t like the stunt.

According to his bio, the Phillie Phanatic is 6′ 6″, 300 pounds and from the Galapagos Islands.  His favorite movie is Rocky, and his favorite food is a Philly cheese steak.  His mother, Phoebe, occasionally comes to Phillie games to help him cheer on his favorite team.

Phillie Phoebe Phanatic

Outside of baseball:   Phillie Phanatic does a lot of charity work in the City of Brotherly Love.  He is known for visiting hospitals and classrooms.  He recently scaled down a 31-story building to raise money for the Philadelphia Outward Bound School.

Baseball card connection:  There are number of cardboard tributes to the Phanatic.  He showed up in the Phillies Tastykake oversized card set in the 1980’s.  His fist solo card was in 1992 Triple Play.

1992 Triple Play Phillie Phanatic

He was also in the Upper Deck Fun Pack Mascot insert set in 1993.

1993 Fun Pack Mascot Madness Phillie Phanatic

Since then, he was in the 2006 Upper Deck Collect the Mascots set,

2006 Upper Deck Mascots Phanatic

as well as the 2008 Upper Deck Historic Firsts set, where he is shown in the rain for the first World Series game to be played over 2 days.

2008 Upper Deck Historic Firsts Phanatic

Finally, since 2007, he’s been featured in just about every Mascot set included in Topps Opening Day.

2014 Topps Opening Day Phanatic




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