Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mascot Hall of Fame had to have a virtual induction ceremony for its 2020 honorees, which included the Baltimore Orioles Oriole Bird.
The Baltimore Orioles mascot earned its rightful spot in the Hall of Fame after over 40 years of entertaining fans at Camden Yards and Memorial Stadium.
The virtual induction ceremony took place on June 14, 2020. The only MLB honoree this year was the Oriole Bird who joined three other mascots from the other major professional sports. They included Boomer from the Indiana Pacers, Youppi! from the Montreal Canadiens, and Blue from the Indianapolis Colts.
The Oriole Bird joins an elite group of other MLB mascots like Mr. Mets, Phillie Phanatic, Slider (from the Cleveland Indians), and Sluggerr (from the Kansas City Royals). This is truly an honor for the 41-year-old bird who was born from an egg at Memorial Stadium the same year as Fredbird from the Cardinals and has been active in more games than Cal Ripken, Jr.
There is a lengthy process to be considered for the Mascot Hall of Fame, and elections are held annually, according to the MHOF website. Votes are cast by the public, members of the MHOF, and the hall’s executive committee members. The votes cast by the MHOF members are worth three-times more than the public’s votes, and the executive board members votes are worth three-times that of the MHOF members’ votes.
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The Oriole Bird does more than just dance and entertain at Orioles games. It shows up at events around town, and visits sick children. You can rent the Oriole Bird for your special event, too. According to the Orioles official website, the Oriole Bird will make a virtual appearance for a $50 donation with proceeds benefiting the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation.
When making public appearances, the Oriole Bird makes a better-than-average hourly wage. According to an article in Yahoo! News, the Oriole Bird is a highly paid MLB mascot, earning upwards of $350 per hour for public appearances at commercial businesses. One of the highest paid MLB mascots is fellow Hall of Fame member, Mr. Mets, who brings in up to $600 per hour. The retired San Diego Chicken gets up to $40,000 per game appearance. In the NBA, Benny the Bull in Chicago earns an annual salary of around $200,000.
Being a professional sports mascot is lucrative. The Orioles have not reported if the Oriole Bird gets a raise for its HOF induction.
Congratulations to the Oriole Bird for being permanently enshrined in the MHOF. You can see the the mascots at the Hall of Fame at 1851 Front Street in Whiting, Indiana. The town is just south of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan.