Philadelphia is primarily known for three things:
A greasy sandwich
A broken bell &
The Phillie Phanatic
I am most interested in The Phanatic.
Named after Philadelphia's obsessive fans, the Phanatic debuted in 1978. He is green, shaped vaguely like a duck, with a snout that works like a party favor. He is like something you would dream about if you ate a plate of salami and doughnuts right before bed.
The ball club originally approached Jim Henson to create the mascot, Henson referred them to Harrison & Erickson, a New York firm that helped him create some of the Muppet characters.
There are many possible reasons for the success of the 300 lb. Phanatic. First off is David Raymond. For the first 16 years Raymond wore the Phanatic's size 20 shoes appearing at games, parades and other events.
Raymond created the persona of the Phanatic by watching cartoons and old Charlie Chaplin films.
The other reason for the Phanatic’s success is that he is an enigma. Think about it, he is so strange looking that he can get away with anything. If your mascot is a giant dog you expect him to act LIKE A DOG. But a Phanatic? He can act however he wants.
During the game he rides around the field on his ATV, dances and kisses anyone he can get close to.
ANYONE! He is like the Bill Clinton of mascots. Sometimes after kissing one of the players he will feign a heart attack and fall to the ground and fan himself. Thankfully, Bill got that valve surgery so this is less likely to happen to him.
He also buffs the heads of bald guys and shoots hot dogs into the crowd with his hot dog launcher.
How cool is THAT! A hot dog launcher!!! Why do some inventions take off, and others don’t? The microwave, the DVD player and the refrigerator that gives you ice and cold water on the OUTSIDE caught on so quickly.
Why then, is there not a hot dog launcher in every kitchen?
The Phanatic is one of only three mascots in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His colleagues Youppi (Montreal Expos) and The Baseball Chicken (San Diego) also are in the hall.
According to Phillies.comthe greatest moment in the Phanatic’s career was the parade in Philadelphia after the Phillies defeated the Kansas City Royals to take the 1980 World Series. He had his own float and danced for the fans.
I bet the NEXT greatest moment was his fight with (then) Dodger’s skipper Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda became so enraged at the Phanatic that he actually got into a fist fight with him almost knocking his head off.
With or without his head, the Phanatic is as popular as the Phillies, perhaps more so. A giant billboard-size photo of his mug greets visitors as they enter the stadium and the stadium has an all Phanatic gift shop called The Phanatic’s Attic.
Here is his OFFICIAL PROFILE:
Height: 6 feet 6 inches
Weight: 300 pounds (mostly fat)
Waist: 90 inches
Eyes: White eyeballs, black pupils, purple eyelashes and blue eyebrows
Skin: Bright green fur
Physical Defects: Overweight, clumsy feet, extra long beak, extra-long curled up tongue, gawking neck and "slight" case of body odor
Birthplace: Galapagos Islands
Best Friend: Phyllis
Favorite Food: cheesesteaks, Soft pretzels, hoagies, scrapple and Tastykakes
Favorite Movie: Rocky
Favorite Song: "Motown Philly" (and "Take Me Out To The Ballgame, of course!)
Greatest Moment: The parade down Broad Street after the Phillies won the 1980 World Series
Hobbies: Eating, reading, sleeping, and cheering on the Phillies!