LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the Las Vegas A’s slowly become a reality, it’s time to address the (literal) elephant in the room.
Coming in at 6’6″ tall, weighing (and this is a quote) “a ton of fun,” Stomper is the mascot for the Athletics franchise. As the baseball club makes its move to the Las Vegas valley, Stomper looks to be making his way to southern Nevada as well.
According to the MLB website, Stomper’s favorite Athletics player is “all of them.” His favorite colors are green and gold. His favorite food is peanuts, and his favorite vacation spot is Mesa, Arizona.
The Athletics’ mascot hasn’t always had a trunk. At one time, the team was cheered on by Charlie O., a live mule. That mascot, the idea of A’s owner at the time Charlie Finley, followed the ball club on its journey from Kansas City to Oakland before retiring in 1976.
Stomper was introduced to A’s fans on April 2, 1997, on opening night of the 29th season of Athletics baseball in Oakland. Stomper was preceded by another playful pachyderm mascot, named Harry Elephante, a play on the name of Banana Boat Song singer Harry Belafonte.
But why is the A’s mascot an elephant? According to an article from the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s website, in 1902, New York Giants manager John McGraw, who was quite upset with the American League after making the move to the National League, had been railing against various former associates who were part of the AL. He trained his fire on the then-Philadelphia Athletics, saying that the organization was burdened with debt and not making any money, deeming the Athletics a “white elephant.”
The A’s took on the mantle, dawning the white elephant as a symbol on their jerseys. Throughout the years, the elephant was been removed and then reincluded in the branding for the ballclub. In modern-day, the elephant remains the symbol of the Athletics franchise and will, in all likelihood, follow the ball club to Las Vegas.