Dandy (mascot)

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Dandy was the mascot of the New York Yankees between 1979 and 1981.[1] He was a large pinstriped bird that sported a Yankees hat. He had a mustache that gave him an appearance similar to that of former Yankee catcher Thurman Munson.[2] His name was a play on the classic American folk song "Yankee Doodle Dandy".

Creation

Eager to add a mascot, Yankees management contracted Wayde Harrison and Bonnie Erickson of Acme Mascots, who created the Phillie Phanatic in 1978, to develop a mascot for their franchise.[2] After a meeting with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, in which Steinbrenner and Erickson argued over the shade of blue to use, the Yankees leased Dandy for three years and $30,000.[2]

Release and reception

On July 10, 1979, The San Diego Chicken, then working for the Seattle Mariners, put a hex on Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry during a game at the Seattle Kingdome. Yankees outfielder Lou Piniella responded by chasing the mascot and throwing his glove at him.[2][3] In response, Steinbrenner said that mascots had no place in baseball, despite the imminent release of Dandy.[2]

Dandy debuted in late-July 1979, weeks after the incident in Seattle.[2] When Thurman Munson died in a plane crash on August 2, 1979, Dandy was put on hiatus, as Dandy resembled Munson.[2] Though Yankees organist Eddie Layton composed a song for Dandy, it was never played.[2] Dandy was confined to the upper deck area of Yankee Stadium by Yankees management.[2] After the lease expired, Harrison and Erickson declined the Yankees' request to sign another lease, as they felt the mascot did not receive the necessary support from management.[2]

Aftermath

Along with this experiment, the Yankees briefly had mascots resembling ballpark food (plus Yankees hats on top) during the mid-1990s.[citation needed] Outside these two occasions, the Yankees have not had an official mascot or cheerleading squad roam the stands or perform on the field. Unofficial mascots have included a squirrel that Teddy Kider of The New York Times nicknamed "Left Field Ratatosk" after it was seen on the right field foul pole in late 2007.[4] The squirrel was referred to as "Scooter" by the fans, for Yankees legendary shortstop, Phil Rizzuto, who died in August 2007.

Though George Steinbrenner gave final approval to Dandy,[2] he claimed had "no recollection" of Dandy in 1998.[1] Joseph M. Perello, vice president for business development for the Yankees, and Lonn Trost, Yankees' general counsel, were unaware that the Yankees once had a mascot.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c St. John Kelly, Erin (February 15, 1998). "NEW YORKERS & CO.; Mascots R Them". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cacciola, Scott (June 15, 2010). "Yankees' Long-Forgotten Mascot". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  3. ^ "If Lou likes chicken, he'll fry one". St. Petersburg Times. United Press International. July 12, 1979. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  4. ^ For Yankees, Squirrel’s Visit May Be Omen (a Bad One)

External links

  • Photo at Acme Mascots
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