MLB Power Rankings: Ranking All the MLB Mascots

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Ranking All the MLB Mascots

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    A trip to a baseball game is far more than just the game itself. It is about the food, the atmosphere and just the overall fun of a day at the ballpark. For some teams, that fun is enhanced by the addition of a loveable mascot.

    Some mascots have become legendary, like the Phillie Phanatic, while others are not as well known. One thing is for sure: The way to get your name out there as a mascot is to be involved in some sort of hilarious injury and bounce back.

    So here are all of baseball's mascots, ranked from No. 1 to No.26, as the Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers and Angels do not currently have mascots.

No. 26: Atlanta Braves, Homer

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    If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then Mr. Met should certainly be flattered when it comes to the Atlanta Braves' mascot.

    Homer, or Homer the Brave in a play off of the lyrics from the Star Spangled Banner, would be a really cool mascot if the Mets had not already done the same thing many years before Homer was created. The fact of the matter is that he is just a poor copy of a division rival's mascot.

    I will give them credit for adding eye black to the face, and going with a slightly less mouth-agaped smile, but lack of originality hurts this one.

No. 25: Arizona Diamondbacks, D. Baxter the Bobcat

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    The story behind the Diamondbacks mascot is an interesting one, and it certainly helps explain why the team went with the name and the animal to represent it.

    Brently Bell, the son of the team's inaugural second baseman, Jay Bell, came up with the idea for the name. D. Baxter is a play on the team's shortened nickname, the D'Backs. The bobcat idea came from the name of the ballpark when it first opened. Now known as Chase Field, it used to be Bank One Ballpark, or BOB as many called it, and thus D. Baxter the Bobcat.

    The name is incredibly clever, and there are bobcats throughout the Arizona area. That said, it doesn't take away from the fact that the mascot itself is kinda creepy looking, and would be terrifying to me if I were a little kid.

    Throw in the fact that the man who played the mascot was arrested for DUI after driving 95 MPH on the freeway back in January of 2009, and you have one disaster of a mascot.

No. 24: Texas Rangers, Rangers Captain

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    The Rangers mascot, known as Rangers Captain, is a giant horse, and while I understand the ranching aspect of life in Texas, it seems to me they could have done better.

    Each game, he wears a matching No. 72 jersey, in honor of when the team moved to Texas from Washington.

    Still, there is something about a giant horse that walks on two legs that is unsettling, and I am not a fan of Rangers Captain.

No. 23: Cincinnati Reds, Gapper

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    Designed by the man who was the Phillie Phanatic from 1973 to 1993, Gapper is basically just a giant red monster.

    He replaced longtime Reds mascot Mr. Red when the team moved into their new ballpark in 2003, and that same year the Reds also introduced a mascot version of their retro logo, Mr. Redlegs.

    The fact that the Reds don't have just one, set mascot, along with the fact that Gapper is basically the Phille Phanatic without the immense popularity and legendary status, makes him a poor mascot at best.

No. 22: Colorado Rockies, Dinger

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    Upon first inspection, a triceratops has little to do with the Rockies and even less to do with baseball in general, but there is actually an interesting story behind his being adopted as the team's mascot.

    During the construction of Coors Field, a number of dinosaur fossils were found, among them a seven-foot long triceratops skull. So with that said, the dinosaur suddenly makes quite a bit more sense.

    The story is cool, but the fact of the matter is he is still a giant purple dinosaur, and that is just a little too weird for him to be considered a top-tier mascot in my book.

No. 21: Detroit Tigers, Paws

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    The team's mascot since 1995, while they were still playing in Tigers Stadium, Paws is a simple-but-effective mascot.

    What you see is what you get, as he is a giant tiger in a baseball jersey. No clever story behind his name, no original feature to his costume, just a big, dancing tiger.

    Still, sometimes simple and unoriginal can still be better than a purple dinosaur and a creepy-looking bobcat.

No. 20: Toronto Blue Jays, Ace

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    Starting in 2002, Ace became the Blue Jays' mascot, along with a female sidekick named Diamond, but beginning in 2004, Ace became the sole mascot in Toronto.

    Named for the pitcher who leads a team's pitching staff (Roy Halladay, as it so happened to be at the time) Ace is just a giant Blue Jay.

    While he is technically just a giant blue jay, he's pretty cool looking, and his name is fairly clever. All in all, they have a solid mascot north of the border.

No. 19: Houston Astros, Junction Jack

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    When the Astros moved from the Astrodome to Minute Maid Park, they also changed up mascots, abandoning Orbit, the green space alien who had represented the team at the futuristic Astrodome.

    When the team's new stadium first opened, it was called The Ballpark at Union Station in honor of the railroad that used to run on the site where the stadium was built, as this also explains the train that rides the tracks in left field after each Astros home run.

    Junction Jack is certainly an original mascot, and a good representation of the Astros ushering in a new era away from the legendary Astrodome.

No. 18: Chicago White Sox, Southpaw

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    Introduced in 2004, Southpaw has become the official mascot of the White Sox, even if no one is officially sure what he is supposed to be.

    Whether his name pays homage to good left-handed pitching or to the team's location on the South Side of Chicago, there is no doubt that Southpaw is among the most irrelevant mascots in baseball.

    Still, there is something endearing about what looks to be a furry lizard of some sort, or perhaps a fuzzy dinosaur. Whatever he is, Southpaw is an interesting mascot to say the least.

No. 17: Minnesota Twins, T.C. Bear

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    While I'm not exactly sure what you could do as the Twins logo instead, aside from perhaps a pair of Siamese twins, the bear is pretty boring.

    His name, T.C., is in respect to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which is appropriate as the team has incorporated the two cities into its logos since it first became a franchise.

    However, he is also based of one of the Twins biggest sponsors, Hamm's beer and their mascot, the Hamm's beer bear. The company is one of the original sponsors of the team, and the fact that they are tapping into a mascot that is a well-known area mascot for a beer as well helps tie the whole sponsorship together nicely.

No. 16: Florida Marlins, Billy the Marlin

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    Billy the Marlin is exactly what you'd expect, a giant marlin in a baseball jersey, and while he is not all that original, he is still pretty cool looking, as a marlin is a neat nickname to begin with.

    His name, chosen by team owner Wayne Huizenga, is after the type of fish marlins are classified as, known as billfish, and thus you have Billy the Marlin.

    He is one of many mascots that are just giant versions of their team's nickname, but marlins are cool to begin with so Billy gains some points.

No. 15: Oakland Athletics, Stomper

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    As far as mascots go, Stomper may be the only one that is actually smaller than the animal it is representing, which makes him somewhat odd to look at.

    The association between the A's and the elephant dates back to when the first owners of the then Philadelphia Athletics bought the team, and Giants manager John McGraw said they had bought themselves a white elephant, or a valuable-but-burdensome possesion.

    Shortly after, team manager Connie Mack selected the elephant as the team logo, and the two have been linked ever since. Stomper is not only a strangely tiny elephant, but an ode to the A's of long ago.

No. 14: Tampa Bay Rays, Raymond

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    Introduced along with the team in 1998, Raymond is a fluffy monster that looks like nothing in particular, although it looks like there may be a bit of walrus in there.

    In his bio on the team's website, he is described as of the genus "Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus" or in layman's terms, a seadog, but in the end, he's a furry blue monster to anyone who sees him.

    Undefined monster mascots are nothing new in the big leagues, but you can't top a whatthefluffalus as far as species go, and Raymond is a pretty solid mascot all-around.

No. 13: Pittsburgh Pirates, Pirate Parrot

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    The Pirate Parrot debuted during the 1979 season, the same year the "We Are Family" Pirates, led by Willie Stargell, won the World Series, and he has been a staple ever since.

    He was originally a much thinner, more piratey looking parrot, but in the years since, he has adopted the more traditional jolly mascot look and his green body bears a resemblance to the Phillie Phanatic.

    The introduction of the Great Pierogi Race has stolen some of his thunder, but he is still among the more recognizable mascots in baseball and is not going anywhere.

No. 12: San Francisco Giants, Lou Seal

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    Introduced in 1996, Lou Seal has been a staple of Giants games ever since, and the significance of a seal mascot comes from two different places.

    First off, it is in honor of Fisherman's Wharf, a popular tourist attraction where seals can be frequently spotted. And second, it is an ode to the old Pacific Coast League team, the San Francisco Seals, that called the city home from 1903-1957.

    Lou Seal is not only a clever play on the name Lucille, but is also just an overall great mascot. What's not to like about a big seal rockin' a sweet pair of shades?

No. 11: San Diego Padres, Swinging Friar

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    First, one thing needs to be clarified, and that is that, although the San Diego Chicken is among the most legendary mascots of all-time, he has never been directly affiliated with the Padres, but instead is a mascot to the whole city of San Diego.

    Instead, it is the Friar who is the mascot, and has been since the team was still a member of the Pacific Coast League as far back as 1958.

    The Friar is as cartoonish as it gets, and while he is no San Diego Chicken, he is still one of the older and more well-known mascots in the game.

No. 10: Baltimore Orioles, the Bird

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    The Bird, as he is so cleverly named, was introduced on April 6, 1979 in a ceremony at Memorial Stadium as he was hatched from a giant egg in a pre-game ceremony.

    He is a spot-on representation of the oriole that appears in the team's old logo, so they have managed to keep some of that old tradition alive with their mascot, and the addition of stirrup socks to his costume is pretty cool.

    While his name is incredibly lame, the fact that he is sort of a blast from the past, and that he was literally hatched on the field, certainly earns him some kudos.

No. 9: Washington Nationals, Screech

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    Introduced as the mascot upon the return of baseball to our nation's capital, what else would be the mascot in such a city but a bald eagle, our national symbol.

    Originally hatched in 2005, he was originally a small bird that looked like a bald-eagle chick, but in 2009 the team decided to update him and he now has a more grown up look, you could say.

    The bald eagle is the perfect mascot for the Nationals, and I think it is really cool that they updated him as though he grew up. Not much bad to say about Screech, other than he brings to mind images of Dustin Diamond with his name.

No. 8: Cleveland Indians, Slider

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    One of just three baseball mascots in the Mascot Hall of Fame, Slider was introduced in 1990 and is by far the "youngest" of the three honored mascots.

    The purple-and-yellow monster has made a name for himself in two ways. First for his cameo in Major League 2 and second for his injury during the 1995 playoffs.

    With heavy rain coming down, Slider attempted to do a somersault along the outfield wall but fell six feet onto the field and tore ligaments in his knee. He was forced to drag himself off the field. That is the sort of incident that makes a mascot a legend.

No. 7: St. Louis Cardinals, Fredbird

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    One of baseball's most recognizable mascots, Fredbird was introduced during the 1979 season, and he has grown to legendary status in St. Louis.

    Adding to his popularity is the recent development of "Team Fredbird," which is more or less a group of hot women who help him out with things such as launching t-shirts into the stands. Well played Fredbird, well played.

    The costume itself is nothing special, but Fredbird is a legend, and as much a part of the Cardinals as Busch Stadium.

No. 6: Kansas City Royals, Slugger

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    A lion with a crown, to me Slugger is among the most original and coolest-looking mascots in all of baseball, even if he does not have the history of some of his peers.

    The Royals could have easily just put a crown on the lions head, but instead they made his head and the crown all one thing, and the result is a surprisingly awesome-looking deformity.

    Slugger does not get the love he deserves in the mascot world, and is my pick for most underrated baseball mascot.

No. 5: Boston Red Sox, Wally the Green Monster

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    Finally, a monster that makes complete sense for the team it is representing, Wally is the ultimate in cleverly named mascots.

    Not only is he a green monster in honor of the 36-foot wall in left field at Fenway Park, but he is named Wally on top of it, as he is the personification of the wall itself.

    Originally not embraced by a franchise with such a prestigious history, Wally has slowly started to work his way into Red Sox Nation, and the team should consider itself lucky to have such a well thought-out mascot.

No. 4: Seattle Mariners, Mariner Moose

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    Following nearly 2,500 entries by children 14 years old or younger, Mariners Moose was chosen as the Mariners mascot at the beginning of the 1990 season, and he has become one of the most recognizable mascots of all.

    He is perhaps best known for his collision with the outfield wall during the 1995 ALDS that resulted from a failed ATV trick and ended with a broken ankle.

    Still, his ATV continues, and he has found himself on the ballot for the Mascot Hall of Fame twice in the past, and could be enshrined any time now.

No. 3: Milwaukee Brewers, Bernie Brewer

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    Starting in 1973, Bernie Brewer became the Brewers' mascot, but at the time he was just a man with an impressive mustache wearing lederhosen.

    When the Brewers rebuilt their bleachers in 1984, the Bernie character was retired, but it was brought back by popular demand in 1993 as the full-body-suited character we know today.

    Bernie Brewer is not only a cool-looking mascot, but his involvement in the game in sliding down a giant slide in the outfield after every Brewers home run gives fans just one more reason to be excited to see the mustachioed mascot.

No. 2: New York Mets, Mr. Met

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    The ultimate in half baseball, half-human creatures, Mr. Met is a living legend, and the simplicity of his design may well be what makes him so great.

    He was first introduced as an illustration on the team's 1963 programs, and the following season he became the first true-life mascot in MLB history, as opposed to being simply a drawing.

    Mr. Met was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2007, and is one of just 18 members of this ultra-prestigious club.

No. 1: Philadelphia Philles, Phillie Phanatic

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    Argue what you will about the spots leading up to this one, but there is no question who the top mascot in all of baseball, and perhaps in all of professional sports is, as the Phanatic is in a league of his own.

    A fat, furry, green monster with a hilarious snout and unrolling tongue, the Phanatic is the king of mascots and is the perfect representation of what may well be the rowdiest fan base in all of professional baseball.

    The Phanatic was a charter member of the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005, and was voted as the best mascot of all-time by Sports Illustrated and Forbes Magazine. The original costume is on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.