The Famous Chicken, the Phillie Phanatic and the Phoenix Suns' Gorilla are the first inductees into the Mascot Hall of Fame.

The representatives of the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies baseball teams and the Suns basketball team were chosen ahead of 11 other finalists, including Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald.

The induction ceremonies took place yesterday in Philadelphia.

"The Mascot Hall of Fame has been created to honor great mascot performers, performances, and character-branding programs that have inspired tradition and positively affected their communities," hall founder Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic, said in a news release.

To be eligible, a mascot must have been in existence at least 10 years, have had a major impact on its sport, industry and community, and have had a consistent performance that is both memorable and groundbreaking, the hall's release said.

The Chicken started as a promotion for a San Diego radio station in 1974. He's attended events in eight countries and all 50 states, appeared with presidents Ford, Reagan and George W. Bush, and was included on the Sporting News' list of the 100 most powerful people in sports of the 20th century.

The furry, green Phanatic has been a presence at Phillies games since 1978. He rides around on an all-terrain vehicle before games, mocks visiting players and spills popcorn on fans.

The Gorilla is known for pregame and halftime stunts in which he uses trampolines to launch himself toward the rim for dunks.

-- From News Services