Pig In Twin CitiesST. PAUL, MN June 30, 2014
Pig in Twin Cities
The St. Paul Saints franchise name is a callback to an era of baseball history when mascots did not exist. Most fans now associate the Saints with their porkly mascot, Mudonna, and their ballpigs. The affiliation is so entrenched that many fans no longer question its oddity.
But how did it come to be? There is more to the story than a gimmick. It started when the Saints were reincarnated in 1992. Libby Veeck, the wife of Saints’ Owner and President Mike Veeck, came across an interesting fact in a book she was reading. As it turns out, St. Paul was briefly known as “Pig’s Eye”. This after colorful former fur-trader and bootlegger Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant. Parrant has been credited with establishing the first business and habitation within the borders of what would eventually become the city of St. Paul. From him, the pig mascot was born.
Veeck, set out to find a real live pig for the team. He was put in contact with local farmer, Dennis Hauth, from River Falls, Wisconsin. At the time Hauth and his pigs were involved with filming commercials and movies in the area. Veeck asked Hauth if he could train a pig to carry balls out on the field to an umpire. Hauth jumped at the opportunity and assured him it was possible. Later that night Hauth told his wife, Marilyn the good news. Together they set out to see if you could in fact train a pig. Since that day they have been training, housing, and making costumes for each pig. The trained pig delivers baseballs nightly to the home plate umpire, entertains the crowd, and takes photos with its adoring fans.
Each season the team adopts a new piglet of 20lbs. Throughout the season the mascot pig grows at a rate of about 1.5lbs a day. At the end of season the pigs are put into retirement at about 200 lbs. At that point their weight really balloons. Hauth kept the first pig “The Saint” after the season ended and took care of him for over 6 years until he passed. “The Saint” was more than 1,500 lbs.
Each year a “Name the Pig Contest” is conducted by the Saints and the St. Paul Pioneer Press at twincities.com. The person with the winning submission receives a prize pack from the Saints and is honored at a Saints home game during the season opening home stand in May. The winning name and the newest ball pig are revealed at the World’s Largest Game of Catch in downtown St. Paul.
Each pig’s name is a reflection of pop culture and is altered into a pig pun. Here is a look back at the names from previous seasons.
1993: The Saint
1994: Saint Paula
1995: Saint Patrick
1996: Saint Tobias
1998: The Great Hambino
2000: Hammy Davis Jr.
2001: Kevin Bacon
2003: Notorious P.I.G (AKA Piggy Smalls)
2004: Squeal Diamond
2005: Ham Solo
2006: Bud Squealing
2007: Garrison Squealer
2008: Boarack Obama
2009: Slumhog Millionaire
2010: Brat Favre
2011: Justin Bieboar
2012: Kim Lardashian and Kris Hamphries
2014: Stephen Colboar
Next season the pig and the Hauths will move with the team to the Lowertown ballpark. Saints’ General Manager Derek Sharrer said getting Dennis and the pig to the new park was a high priority. Not only will the pig tradition live on, but they are also building a new pen off the first baseline, complete with pig amenities.
In total it has been 22 years, 23 pigs, and a whole lot of mud. The Saints look forward to many more to come with the new Lowertown ballpark.
If you have a Last Trian to Midway story you would like to share with us please email the Saints at email@example.com. We would love to hear it!