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Saint Louis Cardinals: FredBird

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FredBird is an animated anthropomorphized (to attribute human form or personality to) Northern Cardinal walking Redbird that holds the peculiarity of serving St. Louis Cardinals, a Major League Baseball team as their official mascot. It often entertains toddlers and young children during baseball games at Busch Stadium. Dressed up in Cardinals jersey he seems to be full of life.

Fredbird joined the St. Louis Cardinals in late 1970, and has become a favorite of fans young and old ever since. When Fredbird was created Marty Hendin, Vice President of Community Relations for the St. Louis Cardinals worked as the Promotions Director and Marketing Director. “Everyone wants to credit me with inventing him, and I didn’t. He was sort of put under my wing, so to speak,” declares Marty Hendin. “Fredbird was our mystery guest Opening Day first-ball pitcher for the 1978 season. Basically, the idea had been broached by many different people, since that was the heyday of the San Diego Chicken.



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What many people don’t know is that we had the Chicken here, and we really gave him the idea of making his act a traveling show. Our players at the time in the mid-’70’s had seen him in San Diego, really liked the idea, and our trainer approached the Chicken about bringing him to St. Louis. They wanted to do that for the fans, and then Gussie Busch heard about it and said he would pay for it, so we brought him to St. Louis, and he performed for our fans. He’s come a long way since then.

In the book that he wrote, he even mentioned that and credits us as the first place out of San Diego that he appeared,” Hendin added. “Ever since [the San Diego Chicken’s] first appearance, a lot of people suggested a mascot, and obviously the logical mascot was a Cardinal. Then one year as part of our advertising campaign, one of the ad agencies came in and made a pitch, and we liked the idea. They did a drawing and found a place to buy the costume. It was very easy as we sat down and planned our marketing activity for the year, and they said: It’s Marty’s area, so he’s in charge.


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We worked with D’Arcy Advertising and had some secret tryouts because we wanted to keep the whole thing quiet because we didn’t know if it was going to go over well or not. Then we decided we would unveil him Opening Day as the surprise guest. We had him walk out through the wagon gate and go to the mound and throw out the first pitch of the season. We did a pretty good job of keeping that a secret.” Fredbird enthuses spirit among the crowd when the team might be behind by a run and has a man on base.

It’s been 24 years that Fredbird has been serving the Cardinals. But the name of the person inside the costume still remains a mystery. Hendin and the Cardinals association have been enjoying the reputation of the now-famous mascot. Tim Falkner serves as the Cardinals’ Mascot Coordinator. Youngsters are entertained in the Cardinals Kids area where special kiddie meals, a tot-sized playground, coloring books and visits from Cardinals' mascot Fredbird make small fans feel like All-Stars. Kids can also have a birthday party bash at Busch Stadium with Fredbird.

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