Cubs mascot could have been worse than Clark

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 01/14/2014, 11:41am

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The Cubs are to mascots what the Bears are to cheerleaders. They’re better off without them.

With Monday’s unveiling of Clark, the young, friendly cub, it got me wondering if the Cubs had ever tried this before.

They’ve had unofficial mascots over the years—Billy Cub, Ronnie Woo Woo and various goats, to name a few—but you have to go back to 1916 to find official mascot Joa, the great-grandbear of Clark as legend has it. Joa was actually a live bear who roamed in a cage outside the right-field wall. Kid-friendly, I’m sure.

Before that, The Friendly Bear from the Broadway play “The Top o’ th’ World” frolicked with the 1908 Cubs for a day (as captured above by the Chicago Examiner). The Friendly Bear, who looked more like an oversized muskrat, was played by renowned animal impersonator Arthur Hill, the same man inside the costume of the Cowardly Lion in the 1902 Broadway production of “The Wizard of Oz.” That 1908 Cubs team featured the legendary double-play combo of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance. (Harry Steinfeldt—third base.) They were also the last Cubs team to win the World Series. So there.

Still, from the backlash in social media, it seems as if Cubs fans aren’t ready for a mascot. Take a look: