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Professional Sports Teams With Insect Mascots

Don’t get me started on team mascots. I won’t get anything else done for the rest of the day.

As his sports trivia question today, Mark asked what was the first professional sports team to have an insect as a mascot or team nickname. Randy Gramm (of course) jumped right in and answered “Charlotte Hornets”, which was a good answer, but made my spidey sense tingle. I remembered the Cleveland Spiders of 1899, maybe the worst baseball team ever, and also remembered the National League Boston Braves had changed their name to the Bees in the late 1930s before changing it back to the Braves around 1940. So now my mascot curiosity is aroused. There goes the day.

The oldest insect mascot my research turned up was the Binghamton Crickets of the old New York State professional baseball league of 1886, which would be a full year before the American Association Cleveland Spiders began play in 1887. Binghamton actually had one of the more normal nicknames in their league, which would become the International League. The Crickets played against the Jersey City Skeeters (another insect mascot! in 1887), the Utica Pentups, and the Oswego Starchboxes! Not to mention the addition to the league of the Scranton Coal Heavers in 1895, and the Troy Washer Women in 1894! Now that’s not a timid mascot!

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