The fourth class of nominees for the Mascot Hall of Fame includes Billy the Marlin among five pro candidates and Sebastian the Ibis among six collegiate candidates.
Who knew the Mascot Hall of Fame was already in its fourth year? The members include such storied pro sports team characters as the Phillie Phanatic, San Diego’s Famous Chicken, Mr. Met, and college characters Brutus Buckeye and Bucky the Badger. The University of Nebraska’s Lil Red became the Hall’s first inflatable inductee.
The public plays a small, but crucial role in the voting. The public's votes cast online are an important measure of which mascots are installed each year, according to Christopher Bruce, vice chairman of the Hall’s executive committee.
“It’s used as a gauge of support these characters have in their communities,” Bruce said of the public vote, which only accounts for about 5 percent of the overall vote.
The majority of the voting is based on the ballots by the executive committee and nominees must receive at least 75 percent of that vote. That means it won’t be clear how many mascots will be inducted this year, until the votes are cast.
The Hurricanes’ Sebastian actually was passed over last year, but he had enough support to be returned to the ballot this year, Bruce said.
You can see why some of us think Billy the Marlin deserves a shot at the Hall in our Two-Minute Drill in the Sun Sentinel's sports section today, including that he overcame adversity when he lost his head on Opening Day in 1997. Online voting runs through Sept. 12 here.
This year’s nominees hold a special place in the heart of Miami resident John Routh, for he has been the embodiment of three of them: the University of South Carolina’s Cocky, Sebastian and he was the original Billy the Marlin.
“It makes me feel good,” said Routh, who serves on the hall’s executive committee. “It’s kind of weird to go back to South Carolina and people still remember me and say ‘You’re Cocky’.”