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  • Writer's pictureEric Moreno

Who’s Who in Texas MiLB Mascots



Each photo courtesy of the MiLB team that mascot(s) represents

 

I think it is fair to say that American sports fans love a mascot. Virtually every major league sports franchise boasts some colorful, larger-than-life embodiment of their team, and there is even a Hall of Fame devoted to the best of the best in the mascot world.

 

One avenue where the mascot truly thrives is in the wild, often carnival-like world of minor league baseball. Minor league teams annually pull out all the stops to keep themselves top-of-mind for their fans, like “colorful” team names, wacky promotions, live entertainment, and of course, the mascots.

 

Here in Texas, this is no exception. Currently there are 12 minor league franchises in the Lone Star State across multiple levels and multiple leagues. Nine of these ballclubs feature at least one costumed mascot at their home stadiums. Here is a quick rundown – in alphabetical order – of all the minor league mascots in Texas:

 


Founded: 2019

Stadium: Hodgetown Stadium

League: Double-A Texas League


Ruckus, Photo Courtesy of the Amarillo Sod Poodles


For the uninitiated, in the far northern reaches of the panhandle of Texas, a “sod poodle” refers to a prairie dog. Officially recognized as a black-tailed prairie dog, RUCKUS made his debut along with the team in 2019. His bio lists his favorite hobbies as baseball (of course), digging, and sleeping, and his favorite snacks are grass, flowering plants, hot dogs, and Cracker Jack.


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Founded: 2017

Stadium: The Depot at Cleburne Station

League: American Association of Professional Baseball (Independent)

Mascots: Gandy & Spike


Gandy and Spike, Photo Courtesy of the Cleburne Railroaders


As could be guessed by their name, the railroad – specifically the Santa Fe Railroad, which built a major hub in the city in 1898 – plays a large part in the history of the north Texas city of Cleburne. With that in mind, the Railroaders’ two mascots play into that history and culture. Spike is literally a railroad spike brought to life, while Gandy pays homage to the Santa Fe workers of the past, who were called “Gandy Dancers”.


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Founded: 2005

Stadium: Whataburger Field

League: Double-A Texas League

 


Sammy and Rusty, Photo Courtesy of the Corpus Christi Hooks


Located near the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the Hooks and their home stadium pay homage to the history and industry of Corpus Christi. Their mascots, Sammy the Seagull and Rusty Hook, have been part of the club since opening day. Rusty is the official logo of the team, while Sammy has a nest atop the left-field foul pole.


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Founded: 2014

Stadium: Southwest University Park

League: Triple-A Pacific Coast League

Mascot: Chico

 


Chico, Photo Courtesy of El Paso Chihuahuas


Set in the farthest outpost in the great state of Texas, the city of El Paso is unlike any other in the state. Historic and rugged, the city is equal parts Mexico and Texas. The ballclub takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert that encompasses the area. The team’s mascot, Chico, is a human-sized Chihuahua dog and one of the most beloved ambassadors of the city. His bio notes that he is a classically trained barker; in college he majored in recognition and retrieval of tennis balls, with a minor in bone-burying.


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Founded: 2003

Stadium: Dr Pepper Ballpark

League: Double-A Texas League


Deuce, Daisy, Ted E Bear & Bull Moose, Photos Courtesy of Frisco RoughRiders


The Dallas/Fort Worth suburb of Frisco is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. It has been home to its minor league team for over two decades, with the team named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt’s famed volunteer cavalry unit, which called Texas their base of operations. The RoughRiders also stake claim to having the most mascots of any team in the state – Deuce and Daisy are a male and female pair of prairie dogs, while the other two, Bull Moose (a nod to the former President’s one-time political party) and Ted E Bear (a giant bear wearing Roosevelt’s military garb), pay homage to Roosevelt lore.


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Founded: 1999

Stadium: Momentum Bank Ballpark

League: Double-A Texas League

 

Juice, Rocky, & Chip, Photo Courtesy of the Midland RockHounds


The West Texas city of Midland sits at the crossroads of the state’s booming oil and gas industries. Their minor league club, one of the oldest continually active ones in the Texas league, owes its name to the energy economy (a “rockhound” is a nickname for a geologist). Midland boasts no less than three mascots: Juice the Moose, who has been with the team since the ‘80s and, according to his bio, spends his off seasons in Montana; Rocky the RockHound, Sr., who is Juice’s best friend and doubles as the team’s logo; and last but not least the newest mascot, Chip the Rock Hammer, who spends his free time digging up dog bones for Rocky.


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Founded: 2000

Stadium: Dell Diamond

League: Triple-A Pacific Coast League

Mascot: Spike 

 

Spike, Photo Courtesy of the Round Rock Express


Just north of the capital city of Austin lies Round Rock and its minor league ball club, the Express. Named in honor of team owner Nolan Ryan, the Express has been one of the state’s most successful clubs on the field. The team’s mascot, Spike, is one of my personal favorites, as he is a human-sized bulldog dressed as a train conductor.


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Founded: 2021

Stadium: Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium

League: Double-A Texas League

Mascots: Ballapeño & Mamapeño


Ballapeño & Mamapeño, Photo Courtesy of the San Antonio Missions


Another of the oldest minor league teams in Texas (historically founded in 1892), and located in the historic city of San Antonio, the team owes its moniker to the 17th century Spanish missions that dot the city. Including the famed Alamo, these missions are part of the National Park System and were designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Officially boasting two mascots (although a third “unofficial” one has been part of the team since moving into the Wolff in 1994) in Ballapeño and his mother Mamapeño, they are both human-sized jalapeño peppers. Don’t cross Mamapeño though, lest you feel the wrath of her chancla!


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Founded: 2021

Stadium: Constellation Field

League: Triple-A Pacific Coast League

Mascot: Orion

 


Orion, Photo Courtesy of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys


The city of Sugar Land is a major suburb of the greater Houston metro area. Founded as a company town for the Imperial Sugar Company, the city has a long and proud sports tradition. The Space Cowboys, named in honor of nearby Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Center, also have one of the more unique mascots in the land in Orion – this blue-hued space canine was found on the Saturn moon of Mimas, but stowed away on an explorer’s spaceship to make Sugar Land his home.


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Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477.

Visit Eric Moreno’s writer’s portfolio site at ericmoreno.contently.com.

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