Charlie O.

From BR Bullpen

Charlie O. was a live mule who served as the mascot of the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland Athletics. Its name was taken from one the forms of colorful team owner Charles Finley's name - "Charlie O. Finley" (the O standing for Oscar, his middle name).

The mule was introduced in 1965 as one of a series of gimmicks thought up by Finley to bring fans to Municipal Stadium, the inept play of the A's not being a sufficient draw. The idea behind choosing a mule for the role of team mascot is that Missouri-bred mules actually had a reputation as the best in the world at one point, and had played a particularly distinguished role in helping United States troops ferry supplies during World War I.

The mule was a big hit with the fans when introduced (with the owner himself mounted on it) on Opening Day in 1965. It was an impressive specimen, weighing 1,400 pounds. Its uniform consisted of a blanket in the team's colors - green and gold - with a matching bridle and a team cap to complete the look. It spent games in a picnic area at the ballpark, where it could be petted by fans, and was also used as a community ambassador for the team. It was also taken on tour around American League cities in 1965 and 1966.

However much a hit Charlie O. was, it could not by itself redress the attendance situation, Finley having well and truly soured the fans with his hucksterism and inability to produce a winner. In 1968, the A's relocated to Oakland, CA and took their mascot with them. The mule continued in its role of mascot until its death of natural causes in December of 1976, having reached 20 years of age.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Norm King: "Charlie O.", in Chip Greene, ed.: Mustaches and Mayhem, Charlie O's Three-Time Champions: The Oakland Athletics 1972-74, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 24-25. ISBN 978-1-943816-07-1

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