The word mascot comes from the french word mascotte or talisman which is related to charm from the word masco or sorceress. I love wikipedia.
And I love seeing good luck and sorceress in the same definition because when I think of baseball mascots, I think of winning streaks. I can already hear the rage from my sabermetrican masters insisting intangible factors have minimal effects on outcomes.
This might be true for the San Diego chicken who taunts players, fans, and umpires and reminds everyone you can never hide; that you are never safe from humiliation. You might be escorted out to second base for a dance.
But some other mascots might be shamans who alter games.
Wild Bill Hagy contorted his arms in the shape of letters spelling out O-R-I-O-L-E-S. He wore a cowboy hat, orange Orioles t-shirt, and sported a full mountain man beard rallying thousands and thousands of fans into hysteria. The Baltimore Orioles were an amazingly successful team during the 1970’s and 80’s….during Hagy’s tenure in section 34 of the upper deck and atop the Orioles dugout on occasion. An incredible pitching staff and eccentric manager helped too.
Chief Noc-a-homa sat inside a tepee just beyond the home run fence in Milwaukee and later Atlanta when the Braves relocated. Any time a Brave’s player hit a home run, the chief would exit the tepee and do a dance.
In 1982, he was removed so more tickets could be sold and the Braves proceeded to lose 19 out of 21 games. The Chief came back and the Braves started winning again. They won the western division that year.
Levi Walker played the part of Chief Noc-a homa. He was an Odawa Indian from Ottawa. The controversy over mocking Native Americans still lingers till this day, but many a kid has asked me about Native American tribes and languages and it all started from me telling them about Chief Noc-a homa.
Bernie’s Beer Barrel Chalet sits above Milwaukee’s left field bleachers. Any time a Brewer hits a home run, Bernie slides down a chute into a beer mug and sets free a dozen or so balloons. Bernie’s been doing it since the 1970’s at old County Stadium.
It only took 10 years for the Brewers team to hit 200 homeruns in a season. They did it in 1980 and then again in 1982. Bernie was removed for a while, but eventually reinstated in the new Miller Park. The Brewers hit 203 home runs in 2012. Of course, not all of the long balls were at home, but mascots, good luck, momentum gets in the blood.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some beer to prepare.