“I Play The Phillie Phanatic For Major League Baseball”
Meet Tom Burgoyne, the person who brings MLB’s Phillie Phanatic to life. Tom talked with us about getting started in the business of being a mascot, about following your passions, about and the fun that comes from being the most recognizable professional sports mascot in the world.
Tom Burgoyne: The Most Recognizable Mascot in the World
This is the story of Tom Burgoyne and his role with the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. Tom is “best friends” with the Phillie Phanatic — the hot-dog shooting, silly-string spraying, giant, green mascot.
The Phillie Phanatic is a baseball and cultural icon. As the man behind the costume, Tom performs a multitude of routines at Citizens Bank Park where he’s entertained more than 57 million ballpark fans since 1994.
He’s also active outside the stadium.
Tom frequently speaks at events in Philadelphia; and travels to Europe, Asia, and other continents to spread messages of positivity and love. He’s authored more than a dozen books for children and for business leaders, including “Pheel The Love”, and has appeared in costume on the NBC show “30 Rock”.
Reflecting on his role: “To be able to bring so many smiles to people’s faces, to be around just the excitement of Phillies baseball… It’s really a dream come true.”
Watch the entire interview with Tom Burgoyne, the man who brings the Phillie Phanatic to life and who has one of the coolest jobs in America.
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[0:00] The Phanatic is a bunch of characters all rolled into one.
[0:03]Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Three Stooges — but he also has that eternal optimism of the 10-year-old in all of us.
[0:16] Hi, everybody my name is Tom Burgoyne. I’m the best friend of the Phillie Phanatic who is the mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies.
[0:22] Some people say he’s the greatest mascot in the whole world and — you know what, I agree.
[0:29] The Phanatic, when he came out, I was in seventh grade. And, now here I am, the guy who gets to play that character. It blew my mind and actually to this day almost 30 years later I still can’t believe it.
[0:42] I grew up in a family that had a lot of business people. My dad was a business man, my brothers, my one sister got into business and I just thought, okay, that’s what I’m going be.
[0:51] I went to college, I got a marketing degree and I thought okay, I’m going to be in sales. I think there was a path that was calling my name that whole time but I chose not to go down there.
[1:02] I had people throughout my life who told me I was good at certain things and maybe I should go down this other path but I declined to follow that passion, the “Phanatic” that was inside me. Instead, I took the safe road.
[1:18] I took a job selling business forms and computer supplies and I guess I wasn’t doing a very good job of it because about seven months after taking the job, I found myself looking through the Want Ads in the Philadelphia Inquirer and saw an ad that said “MASCOTS WANTED”.
[1:33] I answered this ad just thinking it was some kind of crazy mascot job, but it was for the Phillie Phanatic job. I got the call that I was going to be the Phanatic, I thought “Wow!” I’m really doing something that I know I’m going to love.
[1:45] I don’t know if I knew what that meant at the time, I think I’ve become the best version of myself because I’m doing that thing that I just love to do.
[1:55] Even though the Phanatic is maybe at the top of the hill right now in terms popularity for mascots, I think, just personally, it is important to keep pushing yourself creatively and see where that leads you.
[2:07] Being the Phanatic has opened up a lot of doors and it’s kind of let me live the dream of what I dreamed when I was a kid. I loved to write stories — funny, crazy stories. I just think it’s cool now.
[2:19] I’ve written 14 kids books and some other books about the Phillies, so it’s really opened up the door to so many great opportunities. You know I’ve had the Phanatic over in Europe, and Australia, Japan and all these places we go. It’s just amazing to me how recognizable he is.
[2:39] It is that everyday encounter that really lights people up, people get so excited, and so enthused when they meet the Phanatic. It’s a memory that can last a lifetime. So it’s that every encounter that the Phanatic has and the love that he spreads with those fans, that really is the best part of the job.
[2:58] To be able to bring so many smiles to people’s faces, to be around just the excitement of Phillies baseball. It’s really a dream come true.