The year is 1984. The Giants had not yet succumbed to baseball’s mascot craze. The vast majority of Giants fans said they didn’t even want a mascot. But that did not stop the Giants – they came up with what many regard to this day as the greatest and worst, but definitely most original, sports mascot of all times: Crazy Crab.
Great mythology and divergent recollections surround the San Francisco Giants’ notorious Crazy Crab. Crazy Crab first appeared during his one year stint as the Giants’ mascot in 1984, a year that the Giants posted a forgettable 66-96 record and finished in dead last place in the division.
This pudgy, largely immobile mascot looked as much like a giant foam hamburger with legs as he did a Crab. Ingeniously, Crazy Crab was marketed as a satire of the other clownish team mascots.
In fact, he was meant to be hated, and was perfect in his role as the “anti-mascot”. The Giants would trot him out onto the field about once a game specifically to be booed and pelted with flying objects. The generally small and angry crowds at Candlestick Park that year obliged whole-heartedly.
HOW BAD WERE THE CRAB'S GIANTS?
Not only did the Giants lose an intolerable 96 games that season, but a couple of our favorite Giants, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper suffered through possibly their worst season!
- Kruk, who compiled a very respectable 14-year career gave up a career-high 234 hits and 101 earned runs in 1984.
- Kuip, a .271 career average hitter, posted a 12-year career low .200 batting average.
If you saw the wheel hit red hit 96 times would you not bet black?! So the Crab is DUE to bring some good luck!
The miserable season was brightened somewhat by the 1984 All-Star Game, which was held at the 'Stick that year. Chili Davis and Bob Brenly served as the Giants' representatives. It was Chili's first of three All-Star appearances and Brenly's only All-Star nod. The Crab can at least highlight his brief carrer with an All-Star appearance, further cementing his odd place in baseball history.
WHO DREAMED UP THE CRAB?
Accounts seem to differ on who masterminded the creation of Crazy Crab.
The suspects are former Giants PR specialist Pat Gallagher and advertising copywriter John Crawford. Further research, however, shows that it was likely Gallagher alone who is responsible for this classic bit of Giants lore:
“On a (then) recent TV special, Pat Gallagher, the Giants' PR guy who came up
with the whole thing, was characterized as having made a "mistake" with the Crab,
but that's just silly. The Crab concept was brilliant, witty, and one for the ages. It's
not Gallagher's fault that so many fans were too humor-impaired to get it.”
“I wish to give credit where credit is due regarding Crazy Crab. He was created by
John Crawford. One of the most talented and funny copywriters in the world. And
the guy that gave me one of my first breaks in the biz. Crazy, the anti-mascot.
Brilliant. And way above the heads of most fans.”