Phillies sue to stop the Phanatic from becoming a free agent

The Phillie Phanatic performs before a game against the Washington Nationals on July 12 in Philadelphia.
(Hunter Martin / Getty Images)

The Phillie Phanatic is an excellent dancer. He has a great sense of humor (although men with bald heads or people who don’t like having popcorn dumped on them might disagree). He’s popular with the ladies. And no one can handle an ATV or hot dog cannon better than him.

But how is he at pitching in the late innings?

That’s something the Dodgers might want to find out, since the Philadelphia Phillies’ longtime mascot could be hitting the free agency market next summer.

The Phillies filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan last week to prevent the company that developed the Phanatic’s costume from backing out of a 1984 agreement that transferred the rights of the wildly popular character to the team “forever” for $215,000.


According to the lawsuit, Harrison/Erickson Inc. sent the team a letter in June 2018 stating its intention to “make the Phanatic a free agent” after June 15, 2020, unless the contract is renegotiated. The documents say H/E is looking for “millions of dollars.”

The Phanatic was an instant success upon making his debut in April 1979 and he still tops pretty much every ranking of MLB mascots.

While it’s unclear whether any other teams would want to enlist the services of a mascot that’s been so closely associated with another club, you’ve got to admit the large, fuzzy, green, pear-shaped creature with an anteater’s tongue would look sensational in Dodger blue (although Tommy Lasorda might disagree).

Neither Harrison/Erickson nor the Phillies have commented on the dispute. True to his nature, the Phanatic also hasn’t discussed the matter.