Some teams mortgage their mothers’ houses for free agents (see Seattle). Others continue to blow up their farm systems for trading their studs (see Florida … twice). And then there are the fortunate few who think a new stadium is the way to get more peanuts (see Atlanta).
When a free agent isn’t a mutual decision, a lack of a viable farm system isn’t a luxury and changing your stadium is about as likely as Alex Rodriguez winning Mr. Congeniality for All-Star Weekend. The beleaguered Chicago Cubs found themselves in that very situation; so, what the hell, make a new mascot.
They did and you could have sworn natives of the Windy City flooded Addison and Clark to picket Wrigley Field. I was looking for flaming torches and pitchforks, but suffice to say, Clark the Cub was about as popular as Steve Bartman. And there was my inspiration for a new version of The Hit List: The 10 worst baseball mascots. Ever.
10. Dandy (New York Yankees). What’s a baseball list about baseball mascots without the evil empire? Thankfully, this list of the worst mascots is no different. Yes, kids, the Yankees had a mascot, and the thing named Dandy sucked so much, it only lasted for two years before sequestering to hibernation. It was so bad, the Boss made it begin in the Upper Deck. And by looking at this burly mustachioed freak, whelp, he fit right in. What’s the problem?
9. Junction Jack (Houston Astros). Fans of the “Dis-Astros,” you haven’t been blessed with the most creative folks either. Your baseball mascots have included Chester Charge (third mascot ever, next to the Chicken and Mr. Met), Orbit (a nod to NASA) and the salute to the cheap seats, General Admission, they have all sucked. And then, you moved into Minute Maid Park with Junction Jack (Rabbit), who gets to ride his choo-choo when the home team cranks one out. Yeah, now you know why you never see him.
8. Slider (Cleveland Indians). So, Indians fans? What in the pink-and-yellow hell is this? There’s a clear understanding you all were straying from less offensive baseball mascots (like Chief Noc-a-homa of 1980s Atlanta Braves fame — an honorable mention on this list), but this thing? Has your team sucked for so long that you have to recruit aliens as fans? And, he’s been with you for two decades? Yeah, Cleveland rocks.
7. Dinger (Colorado Rockies). And speaking of aliens and freakish annoying baseball mascots from the planet “Huh,” we come to Colorado and this reject of Barney’s circle. Sure, fossils have been found at Coors Field, but would any of those findings from the Paleozoic Era look this foolish? A sort of Stegosaurus, with polka dots. That’s cute, Rockies fans, but next time, take in Jurassic Park for inspiration.
6. Raymond (Tampa Bay Rays). It figures a team that needs crowdsourcing to save it would have a baseball mascot that looks like it was made in a preschool class. Let’s see: You were the Devil Rays, and since you don’t fancy the sinister background, you’re just the Rays. So, from what drug-induced haze did this nitwit arrive? Sure, he’s called a “seadog,” but I’d love to call a marine biologist about that term. And this … Raymond.
5. Youppi (Montreal Expos). Decent team. Ridiculous mascot. If that’s what you want to call this monstrosity named after a French cheer “Yippee.” However, that’s the last thing fans would say when Youppi would arrive, making kids scream and run for section 400 in Olympic Stadium. It’s fitting that Les Expos owned the first baseball mascot to be thrown from a game, thanks to Tommy Lasorda’s rant in 1989. I think Youppi was last seen on some “stranger danger” children list.
4. Bleacher Creature (Atlanta Braves). The 1970s were known for many things, among them, LSD, hippie rock and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters of Saturday morning regalia. All three of those hooked up at a Hot Tub Club and created this … creature. Much like the Indians before them, Braves fans were forced to consider a baseball mascot not-so-offensive. This was the result. Then, they scrapped this beast and went full steam ahead into the stereotypical abyss with Chief Noc-a-homa. Stay classy, Atlanta.
3. Rootin-Tootin Ranger (Texas Rangers). This mascot was so successful that he lasted fewer games than Dandy (see No. 10). As in one game. You see, it’s hot in Texas, and big, nasty outfits like this image from Yosemite Sam’s worst nightmares didn’t help with oxygen intake. Ranger went out rootin’, fainted due to heatstroke and went out tootin’. It was 104 degrees in July that game and the Rangers didn’t have a contribution for the baseball mascots of America for another 25 years. Let’s go Rangers.
2. Ribbie and Roobarb (Chicago White Sox). The year was 1980, and the Chicago White Sox needed a little help reaching out to families. Why create one mascot when two baseball mascots will do the trick? And what if that trick causes an entire city to rise up in hatred? In 1990, the Chicago Tribune describe the doltish duo this way: “One looked like the dim-witted son of Oscar the Grouch, the other like a chartreuse anteater with a genetic flaw.” Well done.
1. Parrot (Pittsburgh Pirates). While Parrot makes sense — parrot on a Pirate and stuff — and this thing is nowhere near as ugly as some of its colleagues on this esteemed baseball mascots Hit List, how often do you find a mascot in baseball being arrested for cocaine? During the Pittsburgh Drug Trials in 1985, more than 13 Pirates were charged for selling, partaking and distributing the white horse from the clubhouse. And yes, even the mascot was busted. That has to be a first, right? And a last, I hope.