When people think of the Chicago White Sox mascot, who comes to mind? Southpaw, right? The fuzzy green mascot wanders around the stadium taking pictures with fans and dancing on the dugouts. Some fans may not know that before Southpaw, there were a pair of mascots that wandered Old Comiskey Park.
Let’s go all the way back to 1981. A new ownership group consisting of Eddie Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf had just purchased the White Sox. In order to spruce things up at the ballpark, they decided to give the fans something the new owners thought the fans would want. I present you with Ribbie and Roobarb, two furry, alien-like creatures that looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
Ribbie, the anteater, and Rhubarb the Simpsons-like, bright yellow character, were brought to life by the same marketing firm that came up with the Phillie Phanatic. Well….. you win some, you lose some – and with Ribbie and Rhubarb, they certainly lost.
It didn’t start off the greatest with the introduction of these two. The fans of the White Sox had their own unofficial mascot, Andy the Clown. Andy Rozdilsky, or Andy the Clown, was a fan favorite who was a fixture at Old Comiskey Park since 1960 and was allowed to perform his unofficial “mascoting” at no charge, but he is a story for another time. So when the new ownership took over, they told Andy to kick bricks and would have to pay to see White Sox games as a fan so the team could debut their new mascot. Fans could not connect or would not connect with the Ribbie and Roobarb, even though they got a big push and a marketing blowout: team campaigns, commercials, local happenings. They were also part of a campaign to get a new ballpark in Addison.
All for not, as Ribbie and Roobarb were put out to pasture before the 1989 season. Now as a fan back then, and to be honest, a fan of Ribbie and Roobarb, I think with all the nostalgia in baseball these days (throwback jerseys, turn back the clock games, and now the Field of Dreams game) it may be time to bring back some of the weird of the mid-’80s.
With the Betterment jersey and Tony La Russa at the helm, could there be a better time?
Do you have memories of the Ribbie and Roobarb days? Drop a comment below and share your story!
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