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In honor of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, let's remember the San Diego Chicken

The Winter Meetings are happening in San Diego this week. While California's second-largest city might make you think of beaches, rogue dinosaurs or an award-winning anchorman:

Today, we'd like to remind you of the nearly-40-year-old San Diego Chicken -- one of the most influential and successful mascots in baseball history. 

Although never the Padres' official mascot, the Chicken began making appearances at Qualcomm Stadium in 1977 as a promotional tool for KGB radio. The bird caught on quickly with local fans, also showing up at concerts and San Diego Clippers games. Eventually, Ted Giannoulas (the man behind the costume) branched out on his own and had a momentous hatching in 1979:

The Chicken went on to star in a show with Johnny Bench, appear in movies and body-slam Barney on live TV:

Although he wasn't the first baseball mascot (Mr. Met holds that honor), he's revered as one of the all-time greats. His comedic talents have been compared to the Three Stooges, he was named one of the 20th Century's 100 Most Powerful People in Sports by The Sporting News and called the "Laurence Olivier of Sports Mascots" by the New York Times.

Legendary San Diego Union sportswriter Jack Murphy probably put it best in a 1978 column:

"The chicken has the soul of a poet ... he's an embryo Charles Chaplin in chicken feathers."

We couldn't agree more.

The Chicken continues to make special appearances around the country, appearing at an El Paso Chihuahuas game last summer.