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San Diego Padres: The Friar

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The Swinging Friar is an official mascot of the San Diego Padres baseball team, a Major League Baseball team. When the Padres were still a minor league baseball team, the Friar adopted the Swinging Friar as their lucky charm. A friar is a member of a religious order of men. This term applies to the members of the four mendicant orders (Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans and Franciscans).

The Franciscan Friars were famous personalities when the city of San Diego was founded centuries ago. In 1969 when the Padres became major league baseball associates they kept their auspicious lucky charm with them. He was even on the team emblem till 1984, when a club’s logo was introduced. He disappeared in 1984 after the Padres made their only other appearance in the World Series since owner Joan Kroc, an heiress to the McDonald's fast food fortune, thought the mascot didn't look professional.


Swinging Friar

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As a consequence this cute chubby little guy was replaced a corporate, baseball-shaped logo with pinstripes and the Padres name stretched across, but the fans still continued to wear their Swinging Friars T-shirts. A lot of fans wanted him back because he was something that was unique to San Diego.

In 1996, he once again became the lucky charm of the team. This time he was given a more rounded head, a bigger smile and the color of his robe was changed from brown to plum. The change in costume was to make the play-offs livelier. Padres merchandise bearing his likeness is among the franchise's top sellers.

Now he has become so famous that he was added to the team's uniforms and featured prominently on the team's Web site and publications. The patch is fully embroidered, exact size and licensed by Major League Baseball and measures approx 5 1/2" wide x 3 1/2" tall.


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San Diego High graduate Carlos Hadaway was a seaman apprentice in 1961 when a superior told him about a contest being held by the Padres. "I wanted to do something with a Padre swinging a bat," recalled Hadaway, who had experience drawing a comic strip called "Square dat Hadaway" for a Navy newspaper called The Hoist. The 19-year-old came up with a few sketches of a brown-robed friar. After his sketch was approved he was asked to draw a larger version of his Swinging Friar. He presented it to Padres General Manager Eddie Leishman, which became the lucky charm of the club. Unfortunately Hadaway was paid a nominal fee for his Padres sketches.

The Swinging Friar is a cartoon-like character dressed as a friar, swinging a baseball bat. He is a chubby, cute hairless man and is always grinning. For the past 40 years the friar has always worn the attire of a medieval beggar. He wears a dark hooded cloak, sandals and a rope around the waist. He uses both of his hands with equal ease since it was reported in some years he swung lefthanded and in others he swung righthanded, and he even wore a glove for a season. He lost his halo as he grew up during the 1960s. 

He is an enigmatic personality who cracks a mean bat. The origin and of the little guy goes back so far that nobody exactly know when he was born. But the fans are satisfied with this aspect that this holy man still supplies the blessings. His eternal smile is simply mesmerizing. The Swinging Friar's motto is "Keep the Faith", or the gospel note, which forms the basis of the lives of Franciscan friars, "I come to serve."

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