It's been a heady ride for "Rally Squirrel," the bushy-tailed rodent St. Louis Cardinals fans credit for bringing luck to a wild-card team that went on to National League Division and World Series victories. In a baseball-crazy town, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center Foundation playfully traded on the squirrel's overnight celebrity to drive a highly successful fund-raiser for the medical center.
The squirrel scurried into the national spotlight in October when he interrupted back-to-back Cardinals playoff games, running onto the field during play. He got the Rally Squirrel moniker as the St. Louis team hit win after win. The squirrel (or squirrels) maintained a popular Twitter account and became an internet sensation, with rap songs and other giddy tributes.
The squirrel buzz got Cardinal Glennon's Dan Buck thinking: Could the squirrel gin up support for the children's hospital? Rose Fogarty, communications manager for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation, said that days after the squirrel made his on-field debut, Buck, who is executive director of the foundation, came running into her office — "like Kramer from Seinfeld," she said — and shared his idea that the Rally Squirrel could endorse Cardinal Glennon and appear on merchandise that could be sold to benefit the children's medical center.
Fogarty and her team quickly tapped into contacts at St. Louis' Anheuser-Busch brewing company, who agreed to foot the cost of merchandise, and worked with other contacts to produce Rally Squirrel charity t-shirts, hats and trading cards and to distribute the promotional items to retail locations. Within four days of Buck's eureka moment, Fogarty and her team had held impromptu press events that garnered national media attention, and they had launched the merchandise line. The first batch of items sold out in 20 minutes, Fogarty said.
The merchandise generated more than $470,000 dollars for a new playground at Cardinal Glennon.
The Rally Squirrel partied on Anheuser-Busch's Clydesdale-drawn beer wagon at the historic downtown brewery, where he was attending a press conference to announce the Rally Squirrel merchandise. Watch a video documenting the Rally Squirrel's contributions to Cardinal Glennon.
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