New York Times: Chesco Resident, ‘Father’ of the Phillie Phanatic, Now Mentors Fuzzy Sports Mascots Nationwide

Dave Raymond, West Grove resident, pro sports team mascots
Image via New York Times.
Dave Raymond, West Grove resident, is credited with reinventing the pro sports team mascot industry.

Dave Raymond, a West Grove resident, essentially invented the modern sports mascots when he introduced the Phillie Phanatic to local baseball fans.

He then spent four decades building his career helping professional teams bring these costumed fan favorites to life, writes Max Rubin for The New York Times.

Raymond portrayed the Phillie Phanatic for 17 years, establishing his signature moves: whomping his paunch, walking with swagger, pulling off an epic double-take, and harassing umpires.

The creativity, verve, and comedic sassiness Raymond brought to the character resonated throughout the rest of the sports world. He essentially created the modern mascot industry, since pro-sports mascots were still rare when the Phillies introduced the Phanatic in 1978.

After retiring from the shaggy green suit, Raymond mentored others.

He introduced a four-step process for developing mascots from scratch. Since then, he has used this process to formulate over 130 characters for professional teams and various businesses.

One of his latest major successes is Gritty, the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers. After a brief — and mandatory — backlash (this is Philadelphia, after all), the monster quickly joined the pantheon of energetic, fuzzy, attitude-laden mascots.

At 65, Raymond remains the biggest name in the mascot world. He continues to create mascots and run a boot camp for performers at the Mascot Hall of Fame, which he established.

Read more about Dave Raymond in The New York Times.

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