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Power Ranking the 25 Most Popular Mascots Ever

Christina De NicolaCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2010

Power Ranking the 25 Most Popular Mascots Ever

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    When the team needs that extra energy and the fans require someone to get them out of their seats, who does one call?

    Why, a mascot of course!

    But what makes a popular mascot? Is it the style, dance moves, a large fanbase and its illustrious history? That all factors into it.

    Whether it's a gold panner or a live animal, these mascots have stories. Or bizarre origins.

    Here are the 25 most popular mascots ever.

No. 25 Sourdough Sam

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The NFL lacks popular (and good) mascots.

    Sourdough Sam represents an interesting...prospector.

    According to his official biography, the San Francisco 49ers' mascot has six nicknames: Sam, Sammy, Samster, Sammiester, Samarama and Samalamadingdong.

    Before the 2006 season, he changed up his look.

    He used to appear with a brown beard, brown eyes and a wide-brimmed 10-gallon hat with a chunk taken out of its brim.

    Now, he appears as a clean-shaven gold panner with blue eyes and a hat without any imperfections.

    No word on whether he has found any gold.

No. 24 YoUDee

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    Ever heard of the University of Delaware's YoUDee?

    A fighting blue hen, he is named after the state bird. And his ancestry dates way back.

    His colors are gold and blue because his great-great-great grandfather was awarded the Gold Medal for Valor during a battle in the American Revolutionary War. The winning troop was said to have fought like blue hens.

    Along with Bucky Badger and Aubie Tiger, the trio made the inaugural Mascot Hall of Fame class in 2006.

    Of late, he won the UCA Open Division Mascot National Champion. Since 1999, he has brought home accolades to one of the nation's smallest states.

No. 23 Youppi!

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Youppi! is the current mascot of the Montreal Canadiens and former mascot of the Montreal Expos. 

    From 1979 until 2004, when the Expos moved to Washington as the Nationals, Youppi! was one of Olympic Stadium's most popular figures.

    In 1989, he became the first mascot to be ejected from a MLB game. He also became the first mascot to make a switch from baseball to hockey. The move was reportedly six figures. 

    His lone adversary?

    Atlanta Braves broadcaster Skip Caray, who often made Youppi! a punchline.

No. 22 Freddie and Freida

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    Not many people know of Bowling Green State University, but for those who do, Freddie and Freida are two of the most-loved mascots in sports.

    In 2006 they were both named “Best Collegiate Mascot” at the 2006 NCA Cheer Camp in Nashville, Tenn. at Vanderbilt University.

    The Peregrine Falcons are a rarity among collegiate sports as male-female pair.

    Even more rare is that they're siblings who reveal their identities at a beheading ceremony during a basketball and hockey game (while skating).

    "Blades of Glory," much?

No. 21 Big Red

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    Who knew that a red, furry blob could receive so much love?

    At Western Kentucky, Big Red has represented the university's spirit since 1979. 

    Big Red won the "Key to the Spirit" award at the Universal Cheerleading Association competition in 1980, 1981 and 1983. He also made the Final Four in 1990 for collegiate mascot of the year. When ESPN did a battle of the mascots, he reached the Final Four.

    Since Capital One began its mascot challenge, it has made the competition in all but two of the years.

    Though the Hilltoppers are a small school with a small athletic department, Big Red keeps them on the map.

No. 20 Sammy the Slug

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    Once voted by Sports Illustrated as the best college sports nickname, University of California Santa Cruz's Sammy the Slug has garnered loads of national media attention over the last few years.

    In 2008, ESPN named it one of the 10 best college basketball mascots. Reader's Digest named it the best five years earlier. People magazine once dedicated a full-page spread to the Santa Cruz Banana Slug movement that took place in 1986.

    But what exactly is a banana slug?

    According to UC Santa Cruz's site, it's a bright yellow, slimy, shell-less mollusk commonly found on the redwood forest floor.

    Another cool thing?

    John Travolta's t-shirt in "Pulp Fiction."

No. 19 The Suns Gorilla

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Don't question why a gorilla became the mascot of the Phoenix Suns.

    In 1980, an avid fan sent a singing telegram messenger onto the court and fans enjoyed it so much that he stayed.

    Best known for his dunks and antics, the gorilla was inducted into the inaugural mascot class for the Hall of Fame. 

    It's not just him, anymore. His popularity led to the "birth" of a baby Suns gorilla.

No. 18 San Diego Chicken

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The San Diego Chicken first caught people's attention on an animated TV commercial for KGB-FM Radio in San Diego in 1974.

    His appearance helped draw steadily growing and entertained crowds to the popular San Diego Zoo. In the first-ever Holiday Bowl, security guards tried to eject the chicken from the field, but he refused. Instead, he sat on the sidelines.

    At one point, the crowd began chanting, "We want the chicken."

    Other than San Diego Padres games, the San Diego Chicken can be found in various pop culture places.

    He attended WrestleMania XV and WrestleMania 2000. He was in a commercial for McDonald's. He recorded a cover of Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" 

No. 17 Goldy Gopher

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    A nominee for the 2007 Capital One All-American Mascot Team, Goldy Gopher makes more than 1,000 appearances a year.

    Goldy also competes in the UCA Mascot National Championships, and regularly makes the top 10, including third in 2009 and 2010.

    He was first seen in 1940.

    Until 1992 when Goldy was under the band's supervision, he would be in every pregame and halftime show of the band. Each week a new band member would be Goldy, and the mouth could open wide enough so the person could play his or her instrument while marching the drill that Goldy was doing for that show.

    How cool is that?!

No. 16 Mike the Tiger

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Mike the Tiger is an actual Bengal tiger as well as a mascot.

    Since 1936, on home football gamedays, his cage is parked by the opponent's locker room near the end of Tiger Stadium. Opposing players must pass the cage in order to reach the locker room.

    He also rides through the stadium before the start of home games. At graduation, students try to take a picture with Mike while wearing a cap and gown.

    And how about that roar?

    Tradition states that LSU will score a touchdown for every one of Mike's roars. There's even a Tigercam where Mike can be seen.

No. 15 Super Frog

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    Super Frog might go down as the most bizarre mascot in Division I football.

    At Texas Christian University, he has been around since 1897 when he made the yearbook. In 1915, he made it onto the university's seal.

    A name change even came in 1979 when he went from Addy the All-American Frog to Super Frog. 

    TCU has even capitalized on its mascot popularity by marketing a bumper sticker (in a role reversal of where a frog, once kissed, turns into a prince) stating "My Princess Turned into a Frog."

    With TCU's recent resurgence in football, Super Frog has become a top dawg in the Capital One Bowl Mascot Challenge.

No. 14 Sparty

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Unless one is from the University of Michigan, Sparty the Spartan is respected for his toughness across the land.

    With a Grecian warrior costume, bulging muscles, and a cartoonish head, Sparty has been around since 1989.

    Aside from ESPN commercials, he won back-to-back Best Mascot awards at the Best Mascot National Championship at the Universal Cheer Association/Universal Dance Association College Nationals in the mid-2000s.

    In 2006, he was one of six nominees for the Mascot Hall of Fame.

    His chin is so prominent that Jay Leno might not even hold a candle to it.

No. 13 Bernie Brewer

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    What other mascot gets to come down a slide after every Milwaukee Brewers home run?

    Bernie Brewer lives in the land of the Miller Brewing Company, and he has enjoyed his time there since 1973.

    Many believe that he bears a striking resemblance to professional wrestler Colonel DeBeers. In the earlier days, he actually slid down a vat of beer. 

    During a hiatus from 1984-1993 because of rebuilt bleachers, fans actually voted for his return. 

    The best part? His mustache's homage to Rollie Fingers.

No. 12 Bucky Badger

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Bucky Badger rocks the red and white turtleneck better than anyone in the world, especially at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    During football games, the mascot, which has been around since 1949, pretends to pick fights with students and leads the band.

    When he was sent to jail a few years ago, he came back the next game donning a black-and-white-pinstriped turtleneck.

    In 2006, he and two others made it into the Mascot Hall of Fame as part of the collegiate division.

No. 11 Aubie

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Aubie the Tiger goes down as the most accomplished mascot in sports.

    He has won the most national championships of any mascot and was among three of the first inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He was also named the goodwill ambassador to Auburn University.

    Since his debut in 1979, Aubie has been a good luck charm for the Tigers football team.

No. 10 Brutus Buckeye

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    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Ohio State fans don't care that Brutus Buckeye is a nut. 

    Since 1965, Brutus has led the Horseshoe crowd with a rousing rendition of "Hang on Sloopy." Come rain or shine in the Midwest, he's always prepared for the weather and football.

    A yearly nominee for the Capital One Bowl's Mascot Challenge, Brutus can be found on various ESPN commercials and even "The Daily Show."

No. 9 Puddles

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Maybe there will be a beanie resurgence?

    Both Sebastian the Ibis and Puddles, the Oregon Duck, work the cap, and both are among the most-popular and worst-behaved mascots.

    By the 1930s, the duck started appearing at sporting events and "Puddles" resembled Donald Duck, the Disney character, a little too much. 

    An informal handshake agreement took place not too soon after, and it was allowed to exist. In 2010, Disney reached an agreement to get rid of the association of the trademark.

    Though Duck Vader, or RoboDuck, made appearances in 2003, he disappeared in 2007 after fanfare.

No. 8 Sebastian the Ibis

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Sebastian the Ibis could find a spot on any type of mascot list: most-loved, worst-behaved...

    In 1957, Sebastian become the mascot as part of a homecoming contest entry. 

    He earned a bad reputation in the 1980s when he led the football team out of the tunnel wearing a firefighter outfit and tried to douse Chief Osceola's flaming spear with a fire hydrant.

    Then there's the instance when he earned a 15-yard penalty for taunting the Florida Gators bench following a UM touchdown at the 2001 Sugar Bowl.

    Year after year Sebastian makes the Capital One Bowl rankings with his C-A-N-E-S chant. A few seasons ago he even drew fans in with his "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" dance.

No. 7 Chief Osceola and Renegade

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Chief Osceola and Renegade make one of the grandest entrances in all of college football.

    The pair is up there with the likes of Batman and Robin. Bonnie and Clyde.

    When the NCAA forced college teams to change American Indian nicknames deemed "hostile," the Seminole Tribe of Florida said it didn't mind the FSU depiction.

    Even Sebastian the Ibis couldn't put out the flaming spear at midfield when he brought a fire extinguisher onto the field.

    And the best part? A true meaning for the word "unconquered."

No. 6 Smokey

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    There's both a live and costumed version of Smokey at the University of Tennessee.

    The Bluetick Coonhound leads the Volunteers onto the field before a football game and is cared for by the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. 

    Smokey has won various mascot championships, and has been a part of Capital One Bowl's Mascot Challenge.  

    First introduced in 1953, Smokey II was actually stolen by Kentucky students in 1955 and was involved in an incident with the Baylor Bears' mascot at the 1957 Sugar Bowl. Smokey VI was the first dog to make the Volunteer injury report after suffering heat exhaustion in 1991.

    Most important, however, is the costumed version's snazzy orange suit.

No. 5 Uga Bulldog

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Hairy Dawg doesn't count.

    Uga is the name of a lineage of English bulldogs owned by Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler, since 1956. Not only is he friendly, outgoing and likes to lick children's faces, but he bites opposing team's players. 

    No dog death has ever hit humans as hard as Uga's does.

    A five-year-old half-brother stepped in after the dog died, and Uga VIII will be chosen by Oct. 16.

No. 4 Bevo

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Bevo is the live animal mascot for the University of Texas at Austin.

    He's a Texas Longhorn steer who hangs around burnt orange more often that the students at UT. He has been called the toughest-looking mascot in sports and has been around these parts since 1916.

    What better saying than "Hook 'em Horns!"

    The original mascot at Texas was actually a pit bulldog. Things definitely changed for the better.

    According to legend, Bo can control the hearts and minds of opposing players.

No. 3 Sooner Schooner

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    One can't sing "Boomer Sooner" without cute little ponies.

    The main mascot present at football games is the Sooner Schooner, a Conestoga wagon pulled by two crème white ponies, Boomer and Sooner. 

    In 2005, two new mascots were created based on the ponies. Some fans don't like the new mascots because they are dressed in costumes identical to the crème white ponies (except for eye color), but manage to look like pigs rather than horses. 

    The only downside to the real animals?

    Some venues don't allow or have room for live animal mascots. Or they accidentally receive 15-yard penalties and flip over.

No. 2 Mr. Met

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    One of the creepiest mascots around because of his baseball head, Mr. Met is also one of the most loved.

    First introduced in 1963, Mr. Met was rid of by the New York Mets franchise in the mid-1970s for 20 years. His return came in 1994 as part of a Nickelodeon campaign.

    Not only does he get Broadway stage time at baseball games, but he receives such attention in commercials for ESPN, as a spokesman for MTA New York City transit and in sketches for "Late Night With Conan O'Brien."

    Mr. Met was elected into the Mascot Hall of Fame in September 2007.

No. 1 Phillie Phanatic

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Although he might be the most-sued mascot in sports, the Phillie Phanatic is one of the most recognizable mascots.

    It has been around since 1978 during the days of Veterans Stadium.

    On Opening Day 2010, it entertained fans everywhere with an homage to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" in a YouTube video.

    The University of Miami baseball team even incorporated a mascot that looks like it would be Phillie's cousin, the Miami Maniac

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