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The Phillie Phanatic

The Philadelphia Phillies
A furry green creature with a cylindrical beak containing a tongue that sticks out, he was created by Harrison/Erickson of New York City (now known as Acme Mascots), who have had ties with Jim Henson's Muppets and the team's marketing and promotions department during the winter after the 1977 season by a young executive named Dennis Lehman, who thought that the team needed a mascot similar to The San Diego Chicken. The character is named for the fanatical fans of the team after an incident during the third game of the 1977 National League Championship Series played at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, in which fans drove Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Burt Hooton into losing his composure (he was removed from the game, but the Dodgers went on to win the game, and ultimately, the series). Another reason he was created, according to current owner and former team vice president Bill Giles was to bring more families to The Vet, as some of the more lubricated fans (for the lack of a better word) were involved in various fights when the team was doing good or bad.[1] The Phanatic replaced a pair of siblings dressed in 18th Century garb named "Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phillis", who were in the team logo from 1976 through 1978, and were part of the team's "Home Run Spectacular" at The Vet from 1971 through 1979. Both Phil and Phillis returned for the Vet's final year in 2003.

In his book Pouring Six Beers At A Time, Giles wrote of the worst decision of his life when it came to came to the creation of the Phanatic. The design would cost $5,200 (US) for both the costume and the copyright ownership, or $3,900 just for the costume with Harrison/Erickson retaining the copyright. Giles chose to just buy the costume. Five years later, when Giles and his group of investors bought the team from Ruly Caprenter, the franchise paid $250,000 to Harrison/Erickson for the copyright.

The Phanatic debuted on April 25, 1978 at The Vet when the Phils played the Chicago Cubs. Since then, he was given the title "baseball's best mascot" by sports analyst Tim McCarver, who was the person who formally introduced the Phanatic on the "Captain Noah and His Magical Ark" show on WPVI-TV as he did promotional work for the team as a side from being the "designated catcher" for Steve Carlton, as well as ESPN's Chris Berman. The Phanatic was originally portrayed by Dave Raymond, who was working originally as an intern in the team's front office, for fifteen years, from 1978 to 1993. Raymond's father is retired college football hall of fame coach Harold "Tubby" Raymond at the University of Delaware. The elder Raymond once joked that his son "was a green transvestite." Also, the Phanatic was voted 'best mascot ever' by Sports Illustrated for Kids and Sports Illustrated.

The Phanatic's "best phriend" (as of 2007) is Tom Burgoyne, a graduate of Saint Joseph's Prep and Drexel University, both fixtures of Philadelphia education. The Phanatic rides around on an ATV, being the first professional mascot to do so, on the artificial turf of The Vet, and now, with regular tires, on the grass at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillie Phanatic is one of the most popular and most easily recognized mascots in all of sports. He has a Japanese counterpart from the Hiroshima Carp named Slyly. In 2005, Raymond founded the Mascot Hall of Fame, and the Phanatic was inducted as a charter member of the Class of 2005. In addition to being "best phriends" with the Phanatic, Burgoyne has written five children's books featuring the Phanatic that the team has published since 2003.

One week before the Phillies had their 2006 opener, the Phanatic was "dyed" red as part of the team's week-long promotion to "Paint The Town Red" as he was "dipped into a special paint" made by a team sponsor - MAB Paints - and was changed from green to red. He returned to his regular color in time for the season opener on April 3 of that year. This was repeated for the 2007 season, as he became red at a Philadelphia Fire Department station (with help from his backup, Matt Monro in the green outfit) to help raise funds for smoke alarms in Philadelphia, and over $4,000 was raised. On April 2nd, he returned to his green hue in time for the opener.

He appeared in the closing credits of the film Rocky Balboa (2006).

Phun Phacts From the Phillies Marketing Department

Height: Six feet. Weight: 300 pounds (mostly fat). Waistline: 90 inches. "Birthplace": Galapagos Islands. Physical Defects: Overweight, clumsy feet, extra-long beak, curled up tongue, gawking neck, slight case of body odor. Mom: Phoebe. Favorite Foods: Soft pretzels, hoagies, cheesesteaks and Tastykakes. Favorite Movie: Rocky. Favorite Song: Motown Philly by Boyz II Men (and Take Me Out To The Ballgame, of course!). Most Memorable Moment: Riding down Broad Street in the 1980 World Series Championship Parade.

It isn't easy being green. But it sure looks like fun! There is no question the Phanatic belongs in the hall and we are more than happy to have him!

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