Happy birthday, Phillie Phanatic! While the Phanatic’s birthday will be observed on a Sunday as usual — May 18th of this year — the Phanatic debuted at Veterans Stadium on April 25, 1978. He was first formally introduced on television by Captain Noah — the Captain and the late Mrs. Noah are the Phanatic’s godparents. Yes, the Phanatic has been baptized.
The Phillie Phanatic was not beloved instantly, and not because his baptism surely raises numerous theological questions. By August of that same year, the Phillies didn’t like him. After a win over the Padres, the Phillies questioned whether mascots should even exist! “All the activity was sort of upsetting,” said Larry Christenson. “I think maybe it detracts from the game,” said Danny Ozark, the manager.
Eventually, though, he won over our hearts. The Phanatic is the best mascot in sports. He’s entertaining. He’s emotive despite having a fixed expression. He’s hard-working and silly and his skits are both groan-worthy and brilliant at the same time. He’s also kind of a jerk. Somehow this stupid green monster is incredibly entertaining.
To celebrate his birthday, here are five great video clips of the Phanatic.
“I hate the Phillie Phanatic,” Tommy Lasorda once wrote. “In fact, I am not very happy about mascots in general…. the Dodgers were in town to play the Phillies and somehow, it got ahold of one of my jerseys. It took the jersey, put it on a dummy and ran over the dummy again and again. That type of a display should not be shown in ballparks, especially in front of children. It exhibits violence and disrespect.”
Tommy Lasorda: Enemy of all that is good about baseball.
Look at the Phanatic actually trying to help lift this thing.
He’s the most useful mascot in sports, too. Next time I bet he’ll catch a streaker.
Or maybe he’ll streak himself! Yes, this is one of the weirder skits at Citizens Bank Park.
This is from a minor league game at the Phillies’ AAA affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The ball hits the Phanatic in the neck, i.e. the face of the man inside the suit, and somehow the Phanatic still does a pratfall and hams it up for the fans. A master at work.
This is my favorite current Phanatic skit.
May the force be with you, Phanatic.
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