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Marlins Mascot Gets Head Back

Monday, June 2, 1997 (06-02) 04:00 PDT Miami -- The head of Florida Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin, missing since a parachute mishap on opening day, resurfaced yesterday at Pro Player Stadium. More Sports

were driving on the Florida Turnpike a few miles from the stadium Saturday when they spotted the five-pound head on a retaining wall.

``We skidded to a halt, Rowe said. ``Smoke was coming from the tires.

The head was returned to the Marlins. It had been missing since it blew off the head of a Navy SEAL parachuting into the stadium on opening day April 1.

Billy was able to continue his mascot duties the past two months because he has a spare head.

Rowe theorized that children found the missing head in a field and left it on the retaining wall. The mascot survived the fall in good shape aside from a scratch on the neck.

``I'll be able to sleep at night knowing Billy has been returned, Marlins president Don Smiley said.

The team rewarded Rowe and Zinniger with season tickets.

U.S. Navy SEAL parachutist, Lou Langlais, dressed as Billy The Marlin, lost the costume's five-pound head ("not meant for jumping out of airplanes" sic) to a gust of wind while parachuting towards Pro Player Stadium on Opening Day of the 1997 season, April 1 (Langlais altered his course to land outside the stadium allowing the "real" Billy to make a regular appearance on the field) [1]. The head was recovered in good shape, apart from a scratch to the neck, exactly two months later by Victor Rowe and Mike Zinniger at the side of I-95 [2].

  1. ^ "Scorecard" Sports Illustrated, April 14, 1997 (web archive)
  2. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, June 2, 1997, page E4 (web archive)

Billy The Marlin
Team: Florida Marlins
Genus: Makaira
Rookie year: 1993