Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Man Behind the Philly Phanatic

Ever wonder who’s the big galoot in the shag-green suit that dances on top of the dugout and drives an ATV around Citizen’s Bank Park? It’s forty-four year old, Tom Burgoyne, whose 5’10”, 170 pounds, and has been wearing the thirty-five pound Phanatic suit for sixteen years, since the 1994 season.

Tom wasn’t green to being a Mascot when he first started with the Phillies. He had been the Hawk at Saint Joseph’s Prep when he was in college. Burgoyne remembers the day in 1989 when he browsed the want ads in The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was a year out of business school at Drexel and checked first under S, for sales, and then under M, for management. That's when he saw it: Mascot Wanted. He answered the blind ad, which turned out to be for the backup Phanatic. He performed more than a thousand times in shopping malls and classrooms before, the original Phanatic, Dave Raymond, which left after sixteen years in 1994. Burgoyne has been the main man ever since.

"It's supposed to look easy," Burgoyne says. "But it's not. This is hard work. Sure, it smells, and you get the occasional foul ball to the noggin. I sweat through five T-shirts a night. But that's no big deal. You put some stick-on air fresheners in the head and Febreze under the armpits at night and you're good to go."

For more info about Tom Burgoyne, check out the two links below:

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