We are very happy to have new MLB Diamond Era BP Hats from New Era, and will be getting more than a few teams in. A few of the teams, such as the Reds and the Mets opted to have their long-time mascots on the front of their cap for a more fun look. Hats like this give the hardcore fans something unique to wear to the ballpark, so they’ll stick out to other hardcore fans. It’s the same effect if someone owns a third-liners hockey jersey, kicker’s football jersey, etc.
While doing my research on the mascots (I was trying to find the name of the Baltimore Orioles mascot, which is aptly named “The Bird”), I turned to the old trusted friend of the internet, Wikipedia. The page on baseball mascots may be the best hidden gem of sports humor on the net. Mind you, this is all off of that page. I didn’t write anything in italics.
Mark Twain once wrote that truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense. He never lived to see sports in the 1970’s or 80’s, but he would’ve had a blast taking it in. In that time, mascots were started and ended like TV series. Literally, some of them ended like a night-time drama. So today, we look at mascots you WON’T be seeing on the new hats… most likely.
“Bonnie Brewer is a former official mascot for the Milwaukee Brewers, appearing at Milwaukee County Stadium from 1973 to 1979. Bonnie was portrayed as a young blonde woman in a gold blouse and short blue lederhosen, wearing a baseball cap and frequently carrying a blue-and-gold broom which she would use to sweep the bases.”
That sounds innocent enough. Brewers frequently use the city’s German heritage for marketing, and it works.
“Bonnie was noted mainly for her colorful antics during the seventh-inning stretch. As the grounds crew swept the infield, Bonnie wielded her signature broom, sweeping off each base in turn. After sweeping third base, she would playfully swat the opposing team’s third-base coach on the backside with her broom, following it up with a kiss on his cheek.”
“Bonnie was discontinued after the 1979 season, although no clear reason has ever been given for her “firing”.
Human resources departments are no joke, folks.
“As of 2008, Bonnie is part of the Brewers’ “Retro Fridays” promotions at Miller Park, incorporating the traditional base sweeping as well as dancing with Bernie on Bernie’s Dugout during the fans’ singing of The Beer Barrel Polka in the seventh inning stretch.”
BONNIE, YOUR ANTICS WON’T BE TOLERATED. Except on Fridays.
The Crazy Crab
“The Crazy Crab was a mascot of the San Francisco Giants for the 1984 season. As opposed to other mascots, Crazy Crab was meant as an “anti-mascot”, satirizing on the mascot craze that was going on at the time. Fans were encouraged to boo the mascot (played by actor Wayne Doba) and manager Frank Robinson appeared in a commercial with the crustacean where Robinson was restrained from attacking him.”
What could possibly go wrong?
“This encouragement may have worked too well, as Giants fans regularly threw various dangerous objects at Crazy Crab, including beer bottles and batteries, and Crazy Crab’s suit had to be reinforced with a fiberglass shell for protection.”
So about those West Coast people being pacifists?
“The crab was so hated, players on both the Giants and even the opposition would throw rosin bags and other objects at the mascot.”
The old argument that “The players don’t care because they’re millionaires” fell on deaf ears to the man wearing the suit.
“Doba sued the San Diego Padres after two of their players tackled him, causing injuries. The mascot lasted only one year and the Giants would not have another mascot until Lou Seal in 1997”
No good thing lasts forever. May the legend of the one season-long experiment last a lifetime or two.
Rootin’ Tootin’ Ranger
“Rootin’ Tootin’ Ranger is a mascot used by the Texas Rangers briefly in the 70’s. He resembled the cartoon character Yosemite Sam as well as The Lone Ranger somewhat.
Because this was a real good idea on paper. Arlington Stadium had ZERO shade.
“The person portraying the mascot fainted on the first day of the mascot’s existence due to heat exhaustion and the mascot was retired immediately thereafter.”
The term “briefly” used in the first sentence is an understatement.
“General Admission (a pun on the unreserved $4 seating section of the Astrodome) was a mascot for the Houston Astros in the mid to late 1990s. He was played by a middle aged white male and wore a traditional U.S. Cavalry uniform complete with gold stars he would affix to his uniform for every Astros home run hit in the Dome. Whenever an Astro hit a home run The General would fire off a cannon from his outfield platform that would often scare those seated near him.”
Who could get offended at that? That’s cool, especially since the Astros just changed uniforms from the orange/spectrum/navy to a very 90’s ish navy and gold.
“He was killed off at the end of the 1999 season when the Astros main mascot, Orbit, had him zapped by an alien ray gun on the penultimate game of the regular season.”
Orbit apparently went into hiding after that season for the next 12 years. He’s back this year, and he better have answers for taking out a hero like the General.
“Dandy was a short-lived mascot of the New York Yankees. He was a large pinstriped bird that sported a Yankees hat. He had a mustache that gave him an appearance similar to that of former Yankee pitcher Sparky Lyle. His name was a play on the classic American folk song “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. He appeared at the start of the 1980 season and was so unpopular that he was quickly canceled.”
What could ever have possessed the Yanks to cancel such a promising idea?
“Dandy was beaten up by fans who didn’t want a mascot, and quit, leading to the elimination of the character as the Yankees chose not to replace him.”
Wow. It only get’s worse from here, folks.
“Souki was the mascot of the Montreal Expos, for only one season (1978), a figure in an Expos uniform with a giant baseball for a head. It was a variation of the popular mascot of the New York Mets called Mr. Met, but with one difference.”
He eats his french fries with gravy?
“The Expos’ Mr. Met, called Souki, had odd antennas sticking out the sides of his head. He looked like something from outer space and the kids were afraid of him. During a game in late fall, a father attacked Souki after his child was afraid of him (and after a loss).”
This is all real. At least we got an explanation for his departure.
“Rally was one of the Atlanta Braves mascots. He was a bear-like mascot and looked like Wally the Green Monster. He does not exist now.”
Given what we’ve already read, where people were zapped by ALIEN RAY GUNS and BEATEN UP FOR SCARING CHILDREN and BEATEN UP FOR SIMPLY BEING A MASCOT… We need answers.
Braves Bleacher Creature
“The Braves Bleacher Creature was a mascot for the Atlanta Braves major league baseball team during the late 1970s. It featured a green shaggy skin with a Braves cap and logo on top. The word Braves was written across its chest in big red letters. It had a permanent toothless smile. The mascot usually roamed the stands from time to time during home games and was intended more for the entertainment of younger fans.”
That’s how it always starts…
“The mascot was costumed by Alan Stensland, then a student at Georgia Tech… Alan recalls having one of his costume’s eyes removed by a youngster on his first night out.”
Wow. Go on…
“They also attempted to bust his kneecaps on bat night.”
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?
“During the 1977 season, the mascot made some 250 appearances at games, parties, and parades.”
That’s a brave, brave dude. *snare, cymbal*
“Stensland was only 18 at the time he first donned the costume. The most intense problem he had was the heat. With the added humidity, a really “funky smell” permeated the inside of the costume. Once Stensland graduated, he left the Braves organization, and the mascot was discontinued.”
That mascot should’ve had his own show on Discovery/History/One of them networks that show really really tough jobs for programming.