The San Diego Chicken started as an animated tv commercial. Soon after, Ted Giannoulas, a student at San Diego State University, was hired to play the Chicken for an Easter promotional event.The San Diego Chicken gained popularity quickly. It became a regular feature at San Diego Padres games. Unfortunately, legal conflicts developed, Giannoulas was fired, lawsuits arose and someone else donned the costume for a while. In the end, things were settled and Giannoulas was allowed to become the Chicken (or the Famous Chicken).
Since then, the Chicken gained a ridiculous amount of exposure and success. The Sporting News named it as one of the 100 most powerful people in sports in the 20th century. It was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame. It even had three baseball cards (which you could send in for autographs)!
One of those Chicago Cubs games I attended in September of 1983 featured an appearance by The Chicken. I never got close to it for a photo with it, but I did capture his strut on the Pirates dugout.