SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Saturday night, the Padres will welcome back one of the most iconic characters in franchise history.
The Famous San Diego Chicken will return to Petco Park as part of the team's 50th anniversary celebration.
"It's like coming back and seeing family again," says Ted Giannoulas, the man behind the mascot. "It's great. These fans put me on the map. It was their laughter, their good faith over the decades that launched my unique career."
The Chicken started in 1974 as a radio station mascot. Over the years, his popularity grew, turning the San Diego favorite in a national phenomenon.
But it's been 10 years since the Chicken ruled the roost at a Padres game. The team decided their anniversary season was the right time to welcome him home.
"As you look back through our 50 year history, it was a piece of our story that we thought really needed to be told this year," says Marketing Director Wayne Partello.
As part of the Chicken's return, the team will give away a San Diego Chicken bobble head to every fan at Saturday's game.
"It's the spitting image of me," says the Chicken, who partnered with the team to make sure they got every detail right, down to the coloring on individual feathers.
The Chicken will also sign autographs and take pictures with fans throughout the game. It may be the last time he performs at his home park.
"I don't know about that for sure," Giannoulas said when asked about his longevity. "It's been 45 years. Nobody can play forever."
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Padres say the game is nearly sold out. For ticket information, click here.