San Diego Chicken
In 2009 (his 35th year playing the part), Giannoulas acknowledged to an AP reporter that the 2009 season could be his last. The bumps and bruises that come with the character are not healing as quickly as they used to, and he has cut back on his schedule in recent years. Most pro-sports teams now have their own mascots, and Giannoulas will only appear in the Chicken suit 50 times during the Summer of 2009 (back in his prime, he would do about 250 games a year).
Interestingly, Giannoulas can expect to make a six-figure salary for his 2009 appearences. He will play the part 3 to 4 times a week from June through early September. He travels extensively with a three person crew to assist him as almost every performance is in a different state. He likes to arrive at the ballpark three hours before a game to prep the umpires, coaches and others for his routine. He plays almost exclusively in the Minors now, commenting "I find that the 'boys of summer' spirit still exists in the minor leagues".
His repertoire includes over 100 gags, all of which are copyrighted. The classics include harassing the umpires with an eye chart and a sandwich board that reads "Will Ump For Food".
The Chicken was also featured prominently in the 1980s kids television program "The Baseball Bunch".
- Meredith, Luke, AP reporter, as featured in the Toronto Star, Tuesday, June 16, 2009. Page S5 "After 35 years, the San Diego Chicken is still clucking"
See also: baseball clowns.