Where Are They Now? Mascot Edition: Rootin' Tootin' Ranger
Baseball's history of colorful mascots dates back more than a century. Unfortunately, some our most distinctive big-headed friends have seen their stories lost in the cracks of time. So let's fill in the blanks -- if the mascots could talk, here's what they (hypothetically) might say. This week: Rootin' Tootin' Ranger, who briefly served as the Texas Rangers mascot in the 1970s.
Cut4: What was your first reaction upon hearing an MLB team was moving to Arlington?
RTR: Why, when I first heard 'bout them boys from Warshington comin' to my neck o' the woods I felt finer than frog's hair! I played the base 'n' ball game from my time on the frontier all 'cross the Lone Star from the banks o' the Brazos to the peaks o' the Palo Pintos, so I was ready for it. They allotted upon callin' the team the Texas Rangers after them natty-dressed coppers from Austin. Now don't take me wrong, I always had the up-most respect fer them boys, but I suppose the team fixed on choosin' me as mascot to provide a lil' more o' the rootin' 'n' tootin' spirit.
Cut4: What were the early years of the Rangers in the '70s like?
RTR: Folks forget, the first boss-man of our club in '72 was none other but Ted Williams. This here was a feller who'd had an ace-high tenure playin' back in the Old States and they called him the "Splendid Splinter." Now, anyone that's sat 'round a campfire on a bench made from shoddy-polished timber knows there ain't nothin' splendid 'bout splinters normally, but Eastern dudes got some funny ways fer expressin' their appreciation.
Them first couple o' years the team didn't exactly cut a swell, but in '74 we has us a right hog-killin' time! Jeff Burroughs was MVP, Mike Hargrove (a Texas boy like yours truly) was Rookie o' the Year and we finished second in the entirety of the American League, right behind them green-and-gold wearin' peacocks from California.
Cut4: There was a report about you fainting at a game. How did that happen?
RTR: The first thing you gotta know about Arlington is in the heat o' summer it gets hotter'n a desert saloon on nickel calibogus night. And understand, bein' a mascot ain't like bein' a fan. At no time could I sit on my fanny -- I had to perambulate 'round Arlington Stadium all the livelong day if I wanted my greenbacks at the end o' the month.
Well, truth is one day the big yeller cowpie in the sky got the best o' me. I passed out cold as a wagon tire. But it ain't been fer more than a minute or two! When I meet for a sarsaparilla with some of my younger cowboy mascot pals like Rowdy, Sourdough Sam, Pistol Pete and Raider Red, they get all comedic-like sayin' it was hours 'fore I could be revived. But it weren't the case. Didn't need no sawbones or nothin' - just a sip o' the brown gargle and I was right back on up.
Cut4: So why did your tenure as mascot end?
RTR: Sometimes a mascot's in fer the long haul, and sometimes a mascot's gotta keep rollin' along. I loved the Rangers then and I will 'til I'm buried in the marble orchard, but the open trail was a-callin'. Still, no matter if I'm ropin' steers, bustin' broncs, foilin' bank jobs or playin' a pickup base 'n' ball game, I always hunker down at the end o' the day to watch the Rangers game on MLB.tv.
It was nigh on 25 years 'fore the team decided they was in the market for a new mascot. When I heard they had Rangers Captain in mind, I thought they was off their copper-riveted rockers! A horse doin' the work of a mascot? To me that sounded as handy as hip pockets on a hog. I was only aware of one horse who was rootin' or tootin' in the least, and that was Quick Draw McGraw, so I wasn't sold on this bill o' goods.
Boy howdy, was I wrong! He came and acted as my segundo on a few o' my adventures as part o' his trainin', and I couldn't o' been more impressed with him. That equine knows what he's doin' - and from the looks o' things, so do the Rangers these days.
-- Interview conducted by Dan Wohl / MLB.com