Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.
BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: The Yankees had a costumed mascot during the 1970s.
On July 10, 1979, the famous costumed mascot the San Diego Chicken (who was working for the Seattle Mariners that day), put a hex on New York Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry during a Mariners/Yankees game in Seattle. This upset Yankee outfielder Lou Piniella, who then chased the mascot and even threw his glove at the giant costumed bird. After the game, Piniella remarked regarding his irritation at the mascot trend, “If people want to pay to see a chicken, they should dress the players up in chicken suits.” New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner supported his player, deriding the then-nascent trend of baseball teams having costumed mascots (a trend started in large part by the San Diego Chicken). Steinbrenner noted, “These characters don’t belong in the ballpark.” This was an especially notable statement by Steinbrenner since two weeks later the Yankees debuted their own costumed mascot. Thus began the short-lived and ultimately quite forgettable career of Dandy, the only costume mascot in Yankees history.
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