Mascots are most popular in America, but the truth is, there aren’t many words that originated here. The San Diego Chicken was one of the most influential mascots of all time, but he wasn’t exactly the first. The word “mascot” came from the French word “mascoto,” meaning “witch, fairy or sorcerer.” So, the slang word “mascotte,” means “talisman” or “sorcerer’s charm” which was popularized in the 1860s. It was supposed to be a good luck charm during poker or another gambling sport.
The word was brought to the rest of the world when “La Mascotte,” written by playwright Edmond Audran was released. It spoke of an Italian farmer whose crops just wouldn’t grow. So he visited Bettina, a sorceress who could grant good luck and fortune to those who ask for it.
Most people believe the word came to American sports in American baseball. Records show that in 1883, an issue of The Sporting Life told about a boy named “Chic,” who may have been the first unofficial mascot. He carried bats and ran errands for the players, and was seen as a good luck charm. But the first animal mascot is unknown, though word from a Cincinnati paper mentions that a goat may have been the first. If not, then it may have been dogs from St. Louis.
However, we often recognize Max Patkin, or the Clown Prince of Baseball to be the first to make a career out of it. He started out playing for the White Sox, but is more famous for popularizing what we know today as “mascots.”