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Phanatic is No. 1 on mascot list

The Phillie Phanatic is the top mascot in sports, according to a market research group whose findings were reported today on Forbes.com.

The Phillie Phanatic is the top mascot in sports, according to a market research group whose findings were reported today on Forbes.com.

The Phanatic - which edged out the pioneer mascot the San Diego Chicken for No. 1 on The Marketing Arm's Davie-Brown Index - "became an instant smash when it debuted for the Phillies in 1978. Leading fans from the top of the dugout, riding around on a motorbike and heckling opposing players was all new at the time, offering a sneak peak of the future. Players and purists hated it. Dodger manager Tom Lasorda got into a scuffle with the Phanatic, while broadcaster Joe Garagiola once lamented that 'baseball is being invaded by the Muppets.' But it was a marketing ploy, and the time had come." Dave Raymond was the first to give him life.

(One glitch: Forbes identifies him as the "Philly Phanatic.")

Tom Burgoyne, who's the Phanatic's best friend, squealed with delight at the news. Then he asked: "This isn't the same Forbes list that Oprah and Bill Gates are on?"

Told it was not, Burgoyne replied: "If it was, I'd be hitting the Phanatic up for a loan."

He called it "a real honor. This is not only good for the Phanatic, but for the fans and Phillies organization. When you come to a game, it's not just about what's going on between the white lines."

Forbes.com notes that the top mascots have appeal to youngsters. "Hook 'em while they're young. It's a common corporate strategy: Appeal to young groups and secure a slew of customers for life."

The Davie-Brown Index is used by marketers to determine a celebrity's ability to influence brand identity with the public.

Here's the top 10:

1. Phillie Phanatic

2. San Diego Chicken (San Diego Padres)

3. Mr. Met (New York Mets)

4. Racing Sausages (Milwaukee Brewers)

5. Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls)

6. Rally Monkey (Los Angeles Angels)

7. Sourdough Sam (San Francisco 49ers)

8. Rowdy (Dallas Cowboys)

9. Rally (Atlanta Braves)

10. Miles (Denver Broncos)

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