Wednesday, August 28, 2013


By the time he had reached the end of his career, he was reviled in the Bronx. The front office would barely acknowledge his existence, the players would not associate with him, and the fans mocked him relentlessly.

What? No, this article isn’t about Alex Rodriguez. It’s about Dandy, the long forgotten mascot of the Yankees.

Stop laughing. This was a thing. Really.

Let’s go back in time to the late 70’s. Mascots were a huge thing for baseball. The Phillie Phanatic was bringing his team in excess of 2 million a year since his debut in 1978. The Bronx wanted a piece of this action.

Bonnie Erickson, formerly of Jim Henson’s Muppets and creator of Miss Piggy, had designed the popular Phanatic and Montreal’s Youppi with partner Wayde Harrison. Both of these characters hold spots in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The couple were contracted to create a New York mascot. The result was the Yankee Dandy. He was doomed from the start.

It was a rare miss for the accomplished couple. What they created basically resembled a cross between Captain Caveman and a fuzzy sex toy with a walrus porn ‘stache. In their defense, the mustache was supposed to be evocative of Thurman Munson. Also his baseball cap could spin around. And he carried a red bandanna. For some reason.

Dandy was universally mocked and immediately reviled. He looked awful and had a silly name. At best, he looked like a bowling pin. At worst, Big Bird’s penis. Cute is one thing. But looking like a dirty joke about Sesame Street is quite another. Dandy was to debut in July of 1979. But his puzzling appearance was Strike One.

Strike Two happened the previous June. Freelance mascot The Famous Chicken was working for Seattle and got into some silly business with Ron Guidry. This set off Lou Piniella, who stated mascots had no place in the game. The Boss backed up his manager, and said that mascots shouldn’t be in baseball. It was two weeks before his own mascot’s debut. Strike Two.

Dandy was not allowed on the field or even anywhere near it. He was consigned to the Upper Deck. Fans in the Upper Deck in 70’s New York City, regarding mascots, were only interested in whether or not they could fly. Tales and rumors abound of the beatings Dandy took. They are either funny or tragic, depending upon the storyteller.

Then, only days after the mascot debuted, on August 2, Thurman Munson died in a plane crash. The one thing they got kinda right on Dandy would now remind people that their Captain was dead. Strike Three. Dandy was over before he began.

The poor schmuck was kept hanging around for a little bit, but Dandy was shelved for good in 1981. He was never given any real shot, announcements, or fanfare. Little publicity. Hated in general. New York was quick to forget him. Even his designers tossed him aside.

You would think this would be the end of Dandy’s story. But you would be wrong. We have no intention of leaving our readers hanging when it comes to his fate. After all, Dandy was an unlucky shmoe who never asked to be what he was. None of this was his fault.

Happily, one of the Yankees greatest mistakes has re-invented himself in Brazil. He found a worthy cause to represent, shaved off the silly fur, and fights testicular cancer as Mr. Testicles.

No it’s not nuts. It’s Dandy.

Chad R. MacDonald
BYB Features Writer
Facebook: New York Yankees the Home of Champions
My Blog: ChadRants

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