Over the years, many pro sports mascots have come and gone. For whatsoever reason, some have managed to make more of an impression than others. Here, y’all’ll find some of the well-nigh delightfully bizarre mascots in pro sports history. While some are still effectually, others take been retired — only they certainly oasis’t been forgotten.
Thunder | Golden Land Warriors (NBA)
Thunder is certainly one of pro sports’ most human-looking mascots. The Golden State Warriors now-retired mascot, who entertained fans with slick fob shots from 1997 to 2007, looks a scrap like a
(1996) character or the result of a Marvel/NBA mashup.
After a decade of tireless dedication to the Warriors, Thunder ran into a fleck of problem. When the Seattle SuperSonics moved and became the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Bay Area-based team was forced to rename their long-standing mascot. While Thunder’s wait was supposedly being revamped, the Warriors never actually debuted a new mascot and, to this solar day, the team remains mascot-less.
Unlike well-nigh other mascots on our list, Crazy Crab was meant to be hated. This San Francisco Giants’ “anti-mascot” is now the stuff of fable — and kind of the mascot equivalent of a cult archetype — only he was born for a particular, burdensome purpose in 1984. That year, the Giants weren’t playing too well, which upset fans. The franchise, however, didn’t desire their supporters antisocial on the squad, then they gave them a new target for their anger and frustration: Crazy Crab.
In fact, fans were encouraged by the team to boo the crustacean. Sadly, this encouragement worked a lilliputian too well; fans threw beer bottles and other objects at the mascot, whose suit had to be reinforced with fiberglass for extra protection. Even players — on both the Giants and the opposing teams — would join in on bullying Crazy Crab. The crab’south run as the squad’s mascot concluded in disaster when he was attacked by two players on the San Diego Padres. Wayne Doba, the histrion playing Crazy Crab, sustained injuries and concluded up suing. Now, Crazy Crab is the stuff of team lore — an within joke of sorts.
Gritty | Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)
Every bit legend has it, the recent structure of Philadelphia’south Wells Fargo Center disturbed the hidden lair of a large, orange, googly-eyed creature who had laid dormant for years. Upon surfacing, the monster didn’t unleash a reign of terror. Instead, he declared himself an avid Philadelphia Flyers fan.
Y’all know him. You lot love him. You’ve probably meme’d him. It’s none other than Gritty, the deeply unhinged (but incredibly beloved) NHL mascot who made waves during his debut in the 2018–19 season. At first, Gritty wasn’t met with credence from Flyers fans — or anyone, really. He was feared and mocked. Of course, as Gritty leaned further into his self-aware, absurdist antics, he quickly became a fan favorite — and an internet awareness.
Every bit Bleacher Report put information technology, “He might look similar a drunk uncle come up to life in muppet class, but he was their drunk uncle muppet.” This seven-pes-tall mascot, however, is more than than just a passionate NHL persona. In fact, he became an enemy of Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential race and, for many, became a kind of leftist avatar in online circles. Since then, this little anarchist-that-could has appeared on protestation signs and in memes. With his global reach and headline-making moments, Gritty has go a political symbol, a cultural icon — and, without a doubt, has transcended being a pro sports mascot.
Doppler | Seattle Storm (WNBA)
When yous hear the name “Doppler,” odds are you remember of the National Weather Service’due south (NWS) Doppler radar — or, if you’re a science lover, the Doppler effect. It’s unlikely, however, that yous imagine a big maroon brute wearing a basketball game uniform. Unless y’all’re a Seattle Storm fan.
The Storm may take won 4 WNBA championships, only 1 of the team’southward lesser-discussed achievements might just be making Doppler, with his maroon fur and tuft of yellowish hair,work. While physics buffs might protest our employ of the phrase “Doppler event” in a basketball context, we recall information technology’south a fun mantra — and a true one, too. After all, Dopps really knows how to get a oversupply going, and, in his free time, this winning mascot captains an all-kid dance squad.
Phillie Phanatic | Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Earlier Gritty came to be (or, you know, awoke from his slumber), Philadelphia flexed its creative mascot muscles elsewhere. The metropolis’s MLB team, the Phillies, debuted an updated version of their iconic Phillie Phanatic mascot in 2020, but, for decades, fans take been clamoring for this… large… green… flightless bird?
According to his official bio, the Phanatic weighs in at 300 pounds and features “clumsy feet, [an] extra-long beak, [an] extra-long curled up tongue, [a] gawking neck and [a] ‘slight’ case of body odor.” Not all mascots are sleek. And they shouldn’t take to be, either. They just demand a lot of heart. Said to have originated somewhere on the Galápagos Islands, the Phanatic enjoys pretzels, Tastykakes, and, of grade, cheering on the Phillies.
Burnie | Miami Heat (NBA)
Long before Bernie Sanders’ supporters popularized the “Feel the Bern” slogan, the Miami Heat’s seven’6″ mascot, Burnie, was encouraging fans to feel the burn. In fact, he’due south been bringing the heat for three decades now. While he may initially appear to be a chicken whose design went terribly incorrect, Burnie is meant to be a flame. Maybe all that orange fur and the green, nose-similar basketball threw you off, but among Estrus fans Burnie is beloved.
In an accidentally hilarious twist of fate, Burnie was once sued in 1994 for encouraging a fan to dance a chip
enthusiastically. And she fell, mid-trip the light fantastic toe. Afterwards, she was discovered to be the wife of a federal judge. (Talk about getting burned!) Thankfully, Burnie was ultimately spared the 20 years in prison he was facing; instead, the case was settled for $50,000. That’s what happens when you play with fire — or, erm, when you
Dandy | New York Yankees (MLB)
If you don’t remember Neat, the brute that served as the ill-fated Yankees mascot from 1979 to 1981, y’all’re not alone. The pear-shaped, pinstriped bird (or so they say…) sported a Yankees cap, furry compatible, and a mustache inspired by Yankee catcher Thurman Munson. If Dandy looks like something out of Jim Henson’southwardFraggle Rock
to you, you’re not too far off; the mascot was designed by Bonnie Erickson, whose résumé includes
The Muppet Testify.
Unfortunately, George Steinbrenner, the owner of the Yankees, felt that mascots had no place on the ball field, an opinion he voiced just ii weeks earlier Swell’s big debut. Reportedly, in that location’d been an incident between ballplayer Lou Piniella and a rival team’southward mascot, and this prompted Steinbrenner to make his anti-Great remarks. With little support, Dandy retired after but three seasons. Talk about a Bronx bummer.
Boomer the Cannon | Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
Boomer the Cannon is still another mascot who didn’t quite capture the hearts of fans. The 2nd mascot of the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Hockey squad, Boomer was a large, grey cannon — complete with wheels and, um, a white mustache. Y’all know, the standard look all anthropomorphic cannons boast.
While he was intended to represent the Blue Jacket’s celebratory cannon, which fired whenever the squad scored, Boomer’s somewhat-phallic resemblance couldn’t be ignored. In the end, the squad quietly ousted Boomer, forcing him to retire before the end of his offset NHL season.
Wally the Green Monster | Boston Scarlet Sox (MLB)
Although Wally fabricated his official debut in 1997, team lore insists that the “Green Monster” has been sneaking into Carmine Sox games (thanks to some clever disguises) since 1912. Why a green monster, y’all ask?
As any MLB fan will tell y’all, “Dark-green Monster” has long been the popular nickname for Fenway Park’south 37-foot-2-inch-high left-field wall, which, every bit you may have guessed, is painted a bright shade of green. That said, the term was the perfect jumping-off point when it came to brainstorming a mascot. These days, Wally and sister, Tessie, cheer on the Ruddy Sox without sneaking into Fenway.
Sparky | New York Islanders (NHL)
Sparky the Dragon made a name for himself by being among the few mascots in sports history to root for two different teams simultaneously. Back in the day, the New York Islanders hockey team shared the Nassau Coliseum with a football game squad, the New York Dragons.
Until the Dragons folded in 2008, Sparky would show up in a cherry-red ensemble and football game jersey at every Dragons home game. For Islanders games, however, he’d rock the blue-and-orange Isles jersey and accompanying ensemble. These days, Sparky can often be found taking part in diverse community outreach programs.