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Updated: June 26, 2023

Paws for thought: Slugger makes Mascot Hall of Fame

Mascot Slugger in a silver spacesuit Photo / Jim Neuger Portland Sea Dogs mascot Slugger, the owner of an extensive wardrobe, donned a spacesuit at a home game last month to honor the astronaut Chris Cassidy, a graduate of York High School.

Slugger the Sea Dog, a Maine celebrity known for his lively antics, artful dance routines and running the bases at Portland’s Hadlock Field against little ones who always win, has made history as the first minor league sports mascot elected to the Mascot Hall of Fame.

The Portland Sea Dogs baseball team is the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. 

Slugger, who will be inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind., on Aug. 12, joins Otto the Orange from Syracuse University as the only mascots selected for enshrinement as part of the Class of 2023. In celebration, Slugger tweeted a mini-video clip of the pair with the hashtag #bestfriends.

This marked the third consecutive time on the ballot for Slugger, who was previously nominated in 2019 and 2021. Out of 20 mascots in contention this year, Slugger and his orange buddy garnered the most votes from an online fan vote over two weeks in May. 

Slugger, a nonverbal-only communicator, issued a statement through a translator.

“I am incredibly humbled, honored and privileged to be joining this prestigious Hall of Fame,” the popular pooch said. "From Day One in 1994, it has been my mission to entertain and create friendships with as many fans as possible, spreading the Sea Dogs brand across the world.”

The Mascot Hall of Fame honors and recognizes the best in the business of professional, semi-pro and collegiate mascots in North America with a decade or more of career success.

Among the qualities the Hall of Fame looks for in nominees is the mascot’s record of contributions to the team, community impact, memorable performances and design. 

Past Inductees include Benny the Bull from the Chicago Bulls, the Phillie Phanatic from the Philadelphia Phillies and Globie from the Harlem Globetrotters.

29 years and counting 

Inductee-to-be Slugger has served as the Sea Dogs’ director of crowd entertainment since the team’s inception in 1994. At that time, the Sea Dogs were affiliated with the Florida Marlins.

In addition to having entertained more than 10 million fans over the years, Slugger makes hundreds of  community appearances very year. He has gained national attention for his on-field antics, and has close to 4,300 followers on Twitter alone.

Much more than an entertainer, Slugger is the face of the Strike Out Cancer in Kids program, which has raised more than $5 million for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. Slugger also leads Slugger’s Reading Challenge, the Slugger Open and the Mini Slugger Open.

In 2014, he walked from Fenway Park to Hadlock Field to raise awareness and funds for Tourette Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood or adolescence. 

Other accolades 

In 2022, Slugger was the recipient of two awards from the Mascot Hall of Fame, winning at the Minor League level for “Greatest Community Impact” and “Best In-Game Skit or Routine."

Other accolades include 2022’s “Mascot of the Year"; and honorable mention for “Mascot of the Year” by in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022. He was nominated for a Minor League Baseball Golden Bobblehead in 2018 and a MiLBY award in 2019 for “Best In-Game Fun.”

Besides honoring furry and feathered fan favorites, the Mascot Hall of Fame is home to an interactive museum for children, families and sports enthusiasts of all ages.

No word yet on whether Slugger plans to nominate himself for the Mainebiz Next Up: 40 Under 40 Awards this year. 

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