The Swinging Friar was a team mascot of the San Diego Padres when they a minor league team in the Pacific Coast League going back of 1958. He is a Friar because San Diego grew up around the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, which was founded in 1769 by Franciscan friars. The Padres joined the Major Leagues as an expansion team in 1969 and the Swinging Friar came with them to cheer on the team and entertain the fans. The always-smiling Swinging Friar is a cartoon-like character who is dressed like an old Franciscan friar with a dark-hooded cloak, sandals, a rope around his waist for a belt and the top of his head shaved. And, the Swinging Friar swings a baseball bat both left and right-handed, a switch hitter. When the Padres win a game, the swinging friar rings a mission bell to celebrate.
On Sundays, the Swinging Friar wears a camouflage cloak in honor of the military background of San Diego. Likewise, the team wears similar uniforms. Many are under the mistaken impression that the San Diego Chicken is the team mascot. However, the San Diego Chicken is a guy in a chicken suit that gets into games for free for dressing up and comes and goes. The Swinging Friar is the San Diego Padres mascot.
The Swinging Friar is proud to represent the Padres, a team whose Minor League history goes back to 1936 and won the Pacific Coast League title in 1937 with young Ted Williams playing for them. The Padres had their problems in the early years, finishing last in their division their first six years. But, things improved and in 1984 and 1998 they won the National League title to go on the World Series. In the 1980s, their start hitter, Tony Gwynn, won 8 batting titles.