The Phillie Phanatic turned 45 this year. How did a giant, flightless bird from the Galápagos become Philly’s baseball mascot?
Former Phillies owner and vice president Bill Giles wanted a mascot that would attract more families to the ballpark. They sought out Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, who turned them down but recommended his colleague Bonnie Erickson, who was the creator of Miss Piggy. Erickson got to work, and created the Phanatic to be a “purely fantasy animal.”
Phanatic first hit the field on April 25, 1978, during a Phillies and Chicago Cubs game at Veterans Stadium. Erickson remembers Phanatic being loved from the get-go and getting a ton of laughs from the crowd. Dave Raymond, an intern at the home office, was enlisted to play the mascot. He would portray Phanatic for fifteen years and has been dubbed the “mascot whisperer” for his role in inventing the modern sports mascot.
From its beginnings to now, how did Phanatic become such a beloved and cherished sports mascot? We’ve got the full story for you on the City Cast Philly podcast.