October 2, 2023

Old Phanatic set to return after lawsuit ends


AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

“The one constant throughout the years has been baseball,”- Terrance Mann

For 628 days, there was something off. The one thing within a baseball organization that was supposed to be constant wasn’t.

That thing is the mascot, and for the Philadelphia Phillies, that one thing should have never changed.

The Phillie Phanatic has been a staple at Phillies games since 1978. While he’s undergone several minor changes, he’s largely stayed the same conical-shaped snout goofball that he’s always been. His creators, Harrison/Erickson Inc., originally owned the copyright after Bill Giles refused to buy it from them. However in 1984, that changed, the Phillies payed $250,000 for the mascot’s copyright. Then the Phanatic lived peacefully…

That is until February 26th 2020, when, fearing they could lose their beloved mascot, the Phillies changed the Phanatic to avoid copyright law coming from the mascot’s creators Harrison/Erickson Inc.

After 35 years, a section of the Copyright Act allows for the creators of the original work to renegotiate their terms or terminate the agreement.

For two years, the Phanatic had scales, star-shaped eyes, a non-conical shaped nose, no classic red stirrups, and some weird shoes. It just wasn’t the Phanatic anymore. By the way has anyone seen Phoebe Phanatic at all? No?

The Phillies argued they were responsible for the mascot’s success, as the employed Dave Raymond, who was the person inside the costume until 1993. Harrison/Erickson argued that the derivative Phanatic was an affront to them and that the Phillies never payed them fairly.

Now, after a grueling two years for Phillies fans, the lawsuit has come to an end.

A settlement between the two allows the Phillies to use either the old Phanatic or the new derivative work, however it is fully expected that the Phillies will return back to the old Phanatic.

The Phillies also payed the creators an undisclosed amount of money, worth it if you ask any Phillies fan.

Goodbye star-shaped Phanatic, and welcome back old phriend.

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