Photo by Phil Konstantin


    It was way back in 1974 when Ted Giannoulas first stepped into that now-iconic feathery costume and became The Chicken. At first he did promotional gigs for KGB-FM radio, but soon enough his antics made him a popular draw at larger sports events. He was never the official mascot of the San Diego Padres, but in the '70s he did appear at more than 500 games in a row. Though The Chicken regularly attended San Diego Clippers basketball games (until the team moved to Los Angeles), as well as many other professional baseball stadiums all over the country, he was seen in the eyes of many as the Padres' top banana. Over the years he's seen it all, appearing at Comic-Con, the Holiday Bowl and WrestleMania. The Chicken also got the call to be in the movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and in the '80s did commercials for McDonald's alongside Ronald McDonald. Today, he goes by the moniker Famous Chicken, and is still relatively well known around the globe at sporting facilities. It's still Giannoulas inside the costume, and even after all these decades he's still limber, spry and energetic.

    Photo by Ewen Roberts


    He's not an international superstar like The Chicken, but the Swinging Friar (it's his bat, not his lifestyle that swings) is the official mascot for the Padres, and he never misses a home game. For those slightly confused to the relevance of a friar as a symbol for the team, it stems from the close relationship between a padre (Spanish for "father" and a common term for addressing military chaplains) and a friar (a member of the Roman Catholic religious order). The Swinging Friar can be a soothing presence at the ballpark, though he is not officially certified to take confessions. He has a forever congenial expression on his face, with a Jay Leno-like chin, a bowl-shaped bald head and a big belly (likely from high ingestion of craft beer) under a long blue robe that's tied at the beltline by a simple piece of rope. For a slightly pudgy dude, the Swinging Friar gets around the ballpark with speed and agility. Look for him to dance on the dugout after a great play by the home team, or wave to him during inning breaks when he and the Pad Squad are hurling t-shirts and other Padres schwag into the stands.



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