Guess Who’s #1
Forbes Magazine has selected Phillie Phanatic as baseball’s most popular mascot. Not surprising. This is a repeat honor by the magazine.
Guess what’s the #1 selling item at Citizens Bank Park? Well, it’s the Phanatic dangle hat.
Going to sneak in a plug for my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits. The last chapter is Behind the Scenes. Included is a story about the Phanatic. Here’s an excerpt peek:
“Thousands have worn a Phillies uniform in the major leagues. An equal number have worked behind the scenes throughout the years. So, who’s the most recognizable member of the Phillies organization? Got to be Phillie Phanatic. When you are 6-foot-6, 300 pounds with a 90” waist, white eyeballs, purple eyelashes, blue eyebrows, monster sized-shoes, extra-long beak, extra-long curled up tongue, gawking neck and your fur is bright green, you are easily recognizable. And memorable. And loved.
“The record shows this big, feathery creature from the Galapagos Islands made a rather quiet debut during a Phillies game at Veterans Stadium on April 24, 1978. His first TV appearance was on the Philadelphia-produced children’s show “Captain Noah and His Magical Ark” along with Phillies player Tim McCarver, who was doing promotional work for the team. Wonder if McCarver includes this historic feat in his resume. Very quickly Phillie Phanatic evolved into the most entertaining mascot in all sports.
“A room behind home plate on the ground level of the Vet was labeled “Phanatic” but what went on behind the door wasn’t known. When Citizens Bank Park opened, sure enough there was another room, “Phanatic Locker Room.” It’s across the hall from the Umpire’s Room. Phillie Phanatic can be seen popping in and out of this room. Before the door is closed, that gawking neck peeks out to make sure no one is following.
“We don’t know if Phillie Phanatic watches TV, has an iPod, microwave, cooler, popcorn machine, sleeps standing up, in a bed or hammock. Or, sleeps period. Is there a giant box of Kleenex? We certainly hope a shower is in order. A hot July afternoon makes players sweat profusely. Perhaps Phillie Phanatic doesn’t sweat although those who get close to him often hold their noses.”
Camp To End
Phillies’ 70th spring training in Clearwater comes to an end tomorrow with a 1:05 game against the Houston Astros at Bright House Field. Team heads to Tampa International Airport after the game for a charter flight back to Philadelphia.
Thursday night, the first-ever Phillies Future Game featuring the organization’s top prospects against the big league club will take place at Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium, 6:05 p.m. first pitch.
Another such game is scheduled for Citizens Bank Park at 1:05 on Saturday afternoon, April 2.
For details, check out http://www.phillies.com/futures.
Minor league games at Carpenter Complex end on Friday. The following day, Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lakewood teams head north. Clearwater players walk from the Complex to Bright House Field. Players not assigned to those four rosters remain at the Complex as part of extended spring training . . . The Orioles will play the Phillies in an On-Deck Game at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night, April 1, 6:05 p.m.
LHP Dick Koecher, who pitched in a total of seven games with the Phillies during the 1946-47-48 seasons, is the latest Phillies Alumnus to turn 90 years of age. His birthday is tomorrow. He joins seven other Phillies Alumni in the team’s Nonagenarian Club.
He is a graduate of Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia and attended Temple University.
Opening Day Phun Fact
April 14, 1914: CF Sherry Magee becomes first Phillies player to homer twice on Opening Day in a 10-1 win over the New York Giants at Baker Bowl.