Screech the bald eagle was "hatched" in 2005. A fourth grader won a design contest sponsored by the team, explaining that the mascot was "strong and eats almost everything." A modified version debuted in 2009. The Nats also have the racing presidents. See how they rank among MLB's racing characters. In its incarnation as the Montreal Expos, the team had two mascots. Souki lasted one season in 1978. His giant head and antennae scared kids. A father attacked Souki after the mascot frightened his child. Youppi!, an orange furry creature, started in 1979. He was the first mascot to be thrown out of an MLB game after Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda complained to umpires about Youppi! jumping on the visitors' dugout roof during an extra-innings contest. Youppi! was abandoned when the Expos moved to D.C. in 2005; NHL's Montreal Canadiens picked him up off waivers.
What a bunch of characters
Baseball has a fetish for mascots — those guys in funny suits paid to give fans the warm fuzzies. A few teams have multiple mascots, while others are totally lacking in character. Some of this cute stuff makes sense and some of it is perplexing, but it's all pretty adorable. Check out our lineup of team talismans. It's flush with plush — and it doesn't even include those ultra-competitive racing characters.
All of the MLB mascots gather annually to celebrate the birthday of the Phillie Phanatic.
D. Baxter the Bobcat, Arizona Diamondbacks
Baxter has been with the D-backs since 2000. His name comes from the team's short name, D-back, and the team's original home, Bank One Ballpark, or the BOB. Plus, bobcats are prevalent throughout Arizona. During the 4th inning of every D-backs game Baxter spends time at his Den, which is located in the St. Joseph’s Sandlot on the Upper Concourse at Chase Field, where he signs autographs and poses for pictures. In the offseason, Baxter also partners with D-backs organist Bobby Freeman at elementary schools. Baxter shares the field with the Racing Legends.
Luchador, Arizona Diamondbacks
In July 2013, the D-backs chose Luchador as an official team mascot, joining D. Baxter. The D-backs Luchador was created following 2012's overwhelmingly popular team giveaway of a Lucha Libre mask, which was followed by a Lucha Libre wrestling match. A fan dressed as the Luchador began appearing at games and proved popular. He speaks fluent Spanish and English, and when not pumping up the Chase Field crowd, he wrestles with Club Deportivo Coliseo in Glendale, Ariz.
Homer the Brave, Atlanta Braves
Homer has a remarkable resemblance to Mr. Met — maybe because they're National League East cousins. Homer replaced the politically incorrect Chief Noc-A-Homa, the former Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves mascot who was forced into retirement in 1988. Another former Braves mascots was Rally, a bear-like mascot who looked like Wally the Green Monster. Homer is currently joined at Turner Field by the racing tools.
Oriole Bird, Baltimore Orioles
The Bird was "hatched" on April 6, 1979 out of a giant egg at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. His favorite foods are bird seed and the Maryland Crab Cake. The Bird has had his feathers ruffled by several losing seasons in Charm City, but he has high hopes for 2011.
Wally the Green Monster, Boston Red Sox
Wally is named for Fenway Park's most formidable architectural element. Besides entertaining Red Sox Nation, his claim to fame is a really funny ESPN ad he did with Big Papi. When Wally debuted in 1997, some traditional Boston fans did not embrace him, but kids loved him. According to the Red Sox's promotions department, Wally has lived inside the left field wall since 1947. On the 50th anniversary of the Green Monster being painted green, he came out of the manual scoreboard and has been interacting with players and fans ever since.
Mama Monster, Boston Red Sox
Wally's mother, Mama Monster, appears with her son on Mother's Day each year.
Lefty and Righty, Boston Red Sox
Lefty and Righty are large, red socks with arms, and are the alternate Red Sox mascots, who join Wally the Green Monster for large outings and weekend afternoon games (Businessman's Specials) at Fenway Park. Lefty and Righty get cozy here with actress Rene Russo.
Sonic racers, no allegiance
We don't know anything about these guys but they have shown up for Cubs spring training games in Arizona the past few years. The Cubs have never had a mascot, but Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers is considered a de facto mascot. The longtime Chicago Cubs fan is known for his idiosyncratic cheers and shouts of "Woo!"
Billy Cub, Chicago Cubs
Since 2007, Billy Cub has appeared at the Friendly Confines during all 81 home games per year. The man in the costume, John Paul Weier, wants to become the official mascot of the Cubs. But Weier is not wanted by the Lovable Losers and even received a cease-and-desist letter from MLB. The future of Billy Cub remains in question.
Southpaw, Chicago White Sox
Southpaw, the White Sox mascot, arrived in 2004 at U.S. Cellular Field. He was on a float representing Illinois at Barack Obama's inauguration, along with the Washington Nationals' racing president representation of Abraham Lincoln. Ribbie and Roobarb were a pair of mascots used by the Chicago White Sox from 1981 to 1988 at Comiskey Park. Fans never accepted the ludicrous looking pair and ridiculed them throughout their tenure. Andy the Clown performed, unofficially, at Comiskey Park from 1960 to 1990.
Rosie Red, Gapper and Mr. Redlegs, Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to mascots. Mr. Red was the Reds' first mascot. He debuted as a sleeve patch in 1955 and lasted a couple seasons. The human Mr. Red didn't appear until the early 1980s. He disappeared later in the 1980s but was reintroduced in 1997. The decidedly retro Mr. Redlegs (right) joined the team in 2007, when Mr. Red retired. Gapper (center) premiered in 2002 and Rosie was added in August 2008. That same year Mr. Redlegs fell off of an ATV during pre-game shenanigans, causing his big baseball head to fall off and exposing the face of the person inside the costume. Mr. Redlegs was seen a few days later wearing a neck brace. Rosie Red, Mr. Redlegs and Gapper also race each other. See how the trio ranks among MLB's racing mascots.
Slider, Cleveland Indians
Slider debuted in 1990 and was inducted into the mascot hall of fame in 2008 -- one of only three MLB mascots there. Slider suffered an injury during the 1995 American League Championship Series when he fell six feet off an outfield wall and tore knee ligaments. He is joined on the field by the racing hot dogs. See how they rank among MLB's racing mascots.
Dinger, Colorado Rockies
Dinger, a purple triceratops, hatched from his egg at Mile High Stadium on April 16, 1994. The choice of a dinosaur was inspired by the discovery of a number of dinosaur fossils, including a half-ton triceratops skull, during Coors Field's construction.
Paws, Detroit Tigers
Paws debuted on May 5, 1995, and his jersey number changes to coincide with the year. He dresses in costume for special occasions at Comerica Park such as a Santa Claus suit during Christmas in July night.
Orbit, Houston Astros
The Astros, who debuted in the AL West in 2013, brought back Orbit as the team mascot, replacing the rabbit named Junction Jack. The green space creature was the club’s mascot for 10 seasons, from 1990-99, during the franchise’s final years in the Astrodome.
Slugerrr, Kansas City Royals
Slugerrr the light-hearted lion made his rookie debut in 1996. The king of the jungle proudly wears his crown, making him a true Royal.
Rally Monkey, Los Angeles Angels
Although not an official mascot, this little capuchin monkey has really caught on among Angels fans. He debuted on June 6, 2000, when the Angels were trailing the San Francisco Giants 5–4 in the bottom of the 9th inning. Two video board operators played a clip of a monkey jumping around from the 1994 Jim Carrey movie "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," with the words "RALLY MONKEY!" The Angels rallied to win and a star was born. The team hired Katie to star in original clips for later games. Stuffed "rally monkeys" are ubiquitous at Angel Stadium.
Reality TV stars, Los Angeles Dodgers
OK, so the Dodgers have never had an official mascot, but they do have plenty of reality TV stars — like the annoyingly ubiquitous Kardashians — hanging out at Dodger Stadium. We think that counts; some of them are pretty silly. Back in 1956, when the team was in Brooklyn, the Dodgers employed clown Emmett Kelly, whose Weary Willie character represented a "bum."
NHL's Kings mascot Bailey, Los Angeles Dodgers
OK, so the Los Angeles Dodgers don't have a proper mascot, but that doesn't stop them from borrowing LA's NHL mascot. Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp hung with Los Angeles Kings mascot Bailey on May 18, 2012. Bailey was on hand to throw out the first pitch before the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers were showing support for the city's hockey team, which was in the Western Conference Finals on its way to the Stanley Cup championship. Bailey's No. 72 represents the average daily temperature in Los Angeles. He is named for Garnet "Ace" Bailey, a Kings scout who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks along with fellow Kings scout Mark Bavis.
Billy the Marlin, Miami Marlins
Billy the Marlin competes in a waterboat race during the middle of the 5th inning of each game. The name was chosen because he resembles a billfish. On Mother's Day and Father's Day, Billy is joined by his parents, Bill Sr. and Betty the Marlin. On Opening Day 1997, a Navy Seal who was parachuting into the stadium as Billy, lost the costume's head in mid-air. Billy's trying not to lose his head over his excitement about the team's move to a new ballpark and his spiffy makeover.
T.C. Bear, Minnesota Twins
T.C. Bear was first introduced to Minnesota on April 3, 2000. T. C. is loosely modeled after the Hamm's Beer Bear, a mascot used in advertisements for Hamm's Brewery, an early sponsor for the Twins. His initials stand for Twin Cities. T.C.'s forerunner as Twins mascot was Twinkie the Loon in 1980 and 1981.
Bernie Brewer, Milwaukee Brewers
The time-honored mascot of the Brewers, Bernie Brewer, occupies Bernie's Dugout above the left field bleachers. When a Brewer hits one out of the park, Bernie glides down his giant yellow slide. Milwaukee's mascot family includes the racing sausages. See how they rank among MLB's racing characters. Bernie bowed as a mustachioed man in 1973. He had a beer-barreled chalet and he would plunge into a beer mug to celebrate. His companion was Bonnie Brewer, a young blonde in a gold blouse and short lederhosen. Bonnie was discontinued in 1979. In 1984, the Brewers removed the chalet and retired Bernie. He made a triumphant return, as you see him today, in 1993 after fans demanded it and the chalet was rebuilt above left-center field. Bernie's original beer mug is part of the Lakefront Brewery tour. Bonnie returned for the final home stand at County Stadium in 2000.
Stomper, Oakland A's
Stomper, the official mascot of the Oakland A's, made his debut on April 2, 1997. The lovable elephant entertains crowds and will attend private events, if invited. Arrange to have Stomper stop at your seat or suite next time you're at an A's game. Your visit includes an autographed Stomper baseball and a photo. The elephant became the A's insignia in 1901, after New York Giants manager John McGraw dismissed the A's with contempt, calling them "The White Elephants." Philadelphia A's manager Connie Mack defiantly embraced the name and incorporated it into the team's logo. Charlie-O the Mule — the mascot used by the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland A's from 1963 to 1976 — was named for eccentric owner Charles O. Finley. The barnyard menagerie at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City also include sheep, goats and Warpaint, the horse mascot of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mr. Met, New York Mets
Mr. Met is one of three MLB mascots in the mascot hall of fame. He was introduced on the cover of game programs, yearbooks and on scorecards in 1963, when the Mets called the Polo Grounds home. A live costumed version was introduced as the first mascot in Major League Baseball in 1964 at the Mets' new Shea Stadium. In the mid-1970s, the Mets discontinued Mr. Met and he was not heard from for almost 20 years. Mrs. Met and the little Mets have made rare appearances on family days or DARE days, but while the kids are young, Mr. and Mrs. Met prefer to keep them mostly out of the public eye so they can lead a normal life, go to school and participate in youth activities. The clan has not yet made a public appearance at Citi Field. Mrs. Met and three little Mets did join Mr. Met for a 2003 "SportsCenter" commercial. Mettle the Mule (originally named Arthur) was a Mets mascot for a short time starting in 1976. Mettle was kept in a pen near the Mets' bullpen in Shea Stadium.
Champ, Yankees minor league mascot
Earlier this year, Champ, a mascot of the Yankees Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa., sued the team. The Yankees have not had a mascot since the ill-advised Dandy the pinstriped bird appeared at the start of the 1980 season. Dandy was so unpopular that he was beaten up by fans and quit. The Bronx Bombers also briefly had mascots resembling ballpark food in the mid-1990s. Aside from these experiments, the Yankees have not had an official mascot although the late Freddy Schuman served as an unofficial cheerleader in the stands for decades.
Phillie Phanatic, Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillie Phanatic, the most recognized mascot in baseball, arrived in the City of Brotherly Love on April 25, 1978. His horn shaped beak contains a long curled tongue that he often sticks out and he usually rides an ATV at home games. The Phanatic has been listed by several publications, including Forbes, as the best mascot in all of sports. In 2005, the Phanatic's original portrayer, Dave Raymond, founded the Mascot Hall of Fame, and the Phanatic was inducted as a charter member of the Class of 2005. Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phillis were the team's mascots from 1971 to 1979. Their costumes evoked the city's Bicentennial spirit. The pair joined the Phanatic for Opening Day and the final game of 2003, the last year in Veterans Stadium.
Phemale Phanatic, Philadelphia Phillies
A female version of the Phillie Phanatic occasionally appears alongside the original. We aren't sure of if there's a romantic connection to the Phanatic. Various reports list her as his wife or girlfriend, but none of the Phacebook, er Facebook, pages devoted to the Phanatic lists a relationship status.
Slyly, Hiroshima Carp
The Phillie Phanatic has a Japanese counterpart named Slyly that is the mascot of the Hiroshima Carp of Japan's Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball. In 1995, the Carp were the only Japanese baseball team without a mascot, so an American intern from Arizona State suggested they start a mascot program. Owner Hajime Matsuda agreed and Slyly was born.
Pirate Parrot and Captain Jolly Roger, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirate Parrot debuted in 1979. He is often seen dancing on the dugouts, sitting on fans, and shaking his large green belly. The original portrayer of the Pirate Parrot was embroiled in scandal after it was found he was involved in the Pittsburgh Drug Trials of 1985. Captain Jolly Roger was introduced in 2006. The team also boasts the racing pierogy team. One of the pierogies was dismissed last summer for making disparaging remarks about the team on Facebook. He was rehired a few weeks later. See how the pierogies rank among MLB's racing characters.
The Mariner Moose, Seattle Mariners
The Mariner Moose, who made his debut on April 13, 1990, was selected via a contest. More than 2,500 entries were submitted by children 14 and under from throughout the Pacific Northwest. The child who came up with the winning idea explained: "I chose the Moose because they are funny, neat and friendly. The Moose would show that the Mariners enjoy playing and that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. It shows they're having fun no matter what the situation." During the 1995 postseason, the Moose broke his ankle crashing into the outfield wall at the Kingdome while being towed on inline skates behind an ATV. He valiantly continued inline skating until 1999, when the team moved to Safeco Field and a natural grass playing surface. The Moose now drives the ATV around Safeco's warning track, performs tricks and lets bullpen pitchers dump water coolers on him.
Raymond, Tampa Bay Rays
Raymond made a splashy debut on June 21, 1998. Raymond's animal-like appearance causes confusion among fans of all ages. His fuzzy face is similar to a walrus and his bulbous blue belly likens him to a mutant manatee. According to the Rays' website, Raymond is actually a previously undiscovered species of dog known as "Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus" or in layman's terms, a Seadog. Seadogs have all the traits of normal dogs. They enjoy going for walks, playing with kids and fetching. Unlike other dogs they are five to six feet tall, walk upright, are blue in color and chase catfish. While other dogs live on land, Seadogs usually live in or around the water. Seadogs are well known for their fun-loving nature, passion for baseball, and general good looks. Raymond was awarded an honorable mention in the GameOps.com Best Mascot contest for 2006.
DJ Kitty, Tampa Bay Rays
DJ Kitty, who makes his debut in 2012, is inspired by the videos played at Tropicana Field featuring a cat spinning records. DJ Kitty will make a few appearances throughout the season and serve as a secondary mascot to Raymond.
Rangers Captain, Texas Rangers
Rangers Captain was introduced in 2002. He is a palomino-style horse, dressed in the team's uniform. He wears the uniform number "72" in honor of the year the Rangers relocated to Texas from D.C. He wears multiple uniforms, just like the Rangers players. Every season, Rangers Captain invites his fellow MLB mascots to throw down with him at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers also have racing "dots." Rootin' Tootin' Ranger, who resembled Yosemite Sam, had a one-day stint as the Rangers mascot in the '70s. Rootin' suffered from heat exhaustion and fainted on his first day, putting a quick end to his ignominious career with the Rangers.
ACE, Toronto Blue Jays
ACE has been the Blue Jays' official mascot since 1999. He had a girlfriend named Diamond, who was a Blue Jays mascot from 2001 to 2004, but they broke up. BJ Birdie was the team mascot from 1979 to 1999. BJ's portrayer lost three toes as the result of an automobile accident during the 1991 offseason but only missed the first game of the season. He was ejected from a game in 1993 after making gestures the umpire found offensive. ACE and Diamond replaced him shortly thereafter.
Swinging Friar, San Diego Padres
The Swinging Friar pre-dates the major-league Padres. He first served as the mascot for the Pacific Coast League Padres, beginning in 1961. When the Padres joined the major leagues in 1969, the team kept him. The rotund, balding character wears sandals and a dark hooded cloak with a rope around the waist. On home Sundays, the Friar wears a camouflage cloak as the team honors the military background of San Diego with similar uniforms.
Famous Chicken, San Diego Padres
The Famous Chicken has never been an official mascot of the Padres, although he does make special appearances.
Red Ruff and Blue Mews
Since the Padres play in PETCO Park, the official mascots of pet supply chain that sponsors the ballpark also appear at every game.
Lou Seal, San Francisco Giants
Luigi Francisco Seal (full name) premiered on July 25, 1996. He evokes the seals prevalence at Fisherman's Wharf and the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League from 1903 until 1957. According to the Giants' website, Lou is a "five-time champion of Act Crazy Behind The Fox Newscaster Without Getting Caught!" The Crazy Crab was a Giants mascot in 1984 and was developed to satirize the mascot craze. Fans were even encouraged to boo him, but the plan backfired as fans took to throwing harmful objects at the Crab, including beer bottles and batteries, forcing the team to reinforce his suit with a fiberglass shell. Players even threw rosin bags at the Crab, who sued the Padres after two of their players tackled and injured him. He lasted only one year and the Giants did not have another mascot until Lou Seal. Today AT&T Park has a Crazy Crab concession stand and there's also a website called Rehab the Crab.
Fredbird, St. Louis Cardinals
Fredbird debuted in 1979. He often "beaks" the heads of supporters. He and "Team Fredbird", a group of young women employed by the club, help him toss t-shirts into the stands. There's even a Build-a-Bear Workshop at Busch Stadium where you can create your own Fredbird.
Rally Squirrel, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals went squirrel-crazy during the 2011 postseason after a real bushy-tailed rodent scampered across home plate during the NLDS vs. the Philadelphia Phillies. St. Louis went on to win that series and fans adopted the little critter for the remainder of their magical run through the playoffs, even adding a costumed character to join longtime mascot Fredbird. It remains to be seen if Rally will still be part of the team in 2012, but considering that St. Louis went on to win the World Series, it's pretty likely Fredbird has a permanent companion.