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01/18/08 5:21 PM ET

Phillie Phanatic earns top mascot honor

Philadelphia mascot edges San Diego Chicken on Forbes list

The Phillie Phanatic will turn 30 on April 25, but there's still a lot of little kid in the playful, lovable 300-pound green furry creature from the Galapagos Islands who's the Phillies' biggest fan.

Apparently, the Phanatic has had a growing fan base of his own over the past 29 years, and the Phillies mascot reached a special milestone this week, when he was named as the top mascot in sports, according to a market research group whose findings were reported Wednesday on Forbes.com.

The Phanatic edged out a mascot legend in the San Diego Chicken for the No. 1 spot on The Marketing Arm's Davie-Brown Index. The Phanatic's antics have both entertained and enthralled young fans since he debuted in 1978.

"The Phanatic is very excited that he was honored this way," said Tom Burgoyne, the Phanatic's best friend, "but he's been a little hard to deal with lately since the announcement has been made, because his head has gotten bigger. Being part of a Forbes list is pretty heady stuff.

"The Phanatic is kind of reveling in the fact that he's been listed as the No. 1 guy and to be on such a list. He really does think it's great."

Forbes.com noted that the top mascots in sports have appeal to young fans. It's that appeal that forms the foundation of kids growing more attracted to a respective sport. The Davie-Brown Index is used by marketers to determine a celebrity's (or mascot's) brand identity. Scores are determined by calculating consumer responses on eight attributes: appeal, aspiration, awareness, endorsement, influence, notice, trendsetter and trust.

The Phanatic scored well on a number of these elements. Burgoyne says that children who saw the birth of the Phanatic in the late 1970s are now parents with children themselves, and their passion for the game has been passed along, but started with their infatuation with the Phanatic. The recognition in Forbes speaks volumes to the quality of entertainment the Phillies provide, Burgoyne pointed out.

"It's not just about baseball sometimes, it's about the kids and enjoying their experience at Citizens Bank Park. They have so much more to do, and the Phanatic is a part of that," Burgoyne said. "The Phanatic travels all over the country: Minor League parks, other Major League parks. He also travels internationally -- he's been to Australia, Japan, Mexico, and everyone seems to love the antics."

The mascots ranking No. 3 through 10 were: Mr. Met (New York Mets), the Racing Sausages (Milwaukee Brewers), Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls), the Rally Monkey (Los Angeles Angels), Sourdough Sam (San Francisco 49ers), Rowdy (Dallas Cowboys), Rally (Atlanta Braves) and Miles (Denver Broncos).

"This is a great day for the Phanatic," Burgoyne said. "He's getting ready for the season, and he's going to be all charged up because he thinks it's going to be a big year."

Joseph Santoliquito is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.