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Baldy

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 The History of our Beloved Baldy

 

What is the history of “Baldy”, the school mascot?

 

The first appearance of the school mascot, “Baldy”, on the PHS campus is somewhat of a mystery.  He showed up as a cast metal sculpture in the middle of the sidewalk near the old girl’s gym in the late 1940’s.  No one claimed to know how he got there.  But before long, students adopted the statue as their mascot and gave him the name “Baldy”.  Although a year later it was proven that Baldy had actually been a fixture in front of a farm implement company in Alvin, the store chose to ignore the loss of its eagle sculpture and allow him to remain at PHS. 

 

For a short time, the metal sculpture was actually joined by a live Golden Eagle named Baldy.  The 1953 Pasadenian says that the real eagle was given to the school at the beginning of that school year.  Baldy lived in a cage on campus.  The ‘53 yearbook shows the eagle in his cage with a “Baldy” sign on top.  The yearbook also says that “Baldy attended all games that the weather permitted him to, and was a loyal fan.”  According to the 1954 Pasadenian, the live Baldy passed away in the summer of 1953.  However, Baldy the Golden Eagle was stuffed, and it has hung proudly in the band hall ever since. 

Through the years, the sculpture of Baldy has frequently been the target of pranks from rival high schools.  Those pranks have included his kidnapping and painting.  At various times, the sculpture has also been broken in half, run up the flag pole at Galena Park H. S., and had his head and wings destroyed. 

 

Finally in 1972, the metal sculpture eagle was bronzed and given a permanent place of honor in the school cafeteria.  Through his long history and his trials, for over 60 years Baldy has remained the symbol of Eagle Pride.

  (source:  1953 Pasadenian; A Century of Learning, p. 81)


Eagle That Sits On Top of the World

 

The History of Baldy

 

Written By: Agnes Ann McKinley

 

He sits in his new home now, serene and secure, his head held high and slightly cocked. His gave is steady and direct, as always, and before him daily pass the multitudes over whom he hold dominion. Baldy has it made now, but he hasn’t always had it so good. His origin was a rather humble one, and the years before he attained acceptance were turbulent ones.

 

For you see, Baldy hasn’t always been a spirit, living and holding sway in the hearts of people who thrilled to the sound of his name and who fought when his honor was impugned. Once, years ago, he was a plain replica, made of metal, identifying only with other replicas cast in the same mold, which industry sent out periodically to proclaim the presence of their enterprise. But fortunately for the great bird, one night in the early fifties he came to the attention of men of vision.

 

Permanently situated in front of the J.I. Case Farm Implement Manufacturing Company, in Alvin, Texas Baldy was accustomed to the ordinary passerby, the people who made up the stream of traffic n any quiet little country town. How was he to know that these young men – students from a near-by high school – had some very special plans for him? He ruffled not a feather when they lifted him bodily from the stone to which he had been securely fixed and brought him to a strange place – the place which was eventually to become his permanent home.

 

He lived very quietly for awhile in the garage of a young man who later may have sent his sons to Pasadena High School, and it is altogether possible that this man may have grandchildren growing up in the Eagle tradition of today. But as he and his friends labored to ensconce their prize in a great slab of concrete, their only concern was for the present. Little did they dream at that time that they were bringing into existence something for posterity?

 

Baldy’s extra weight, when he was finished, was no insurance against his disappearing, and one morning he mysteriously appeared in the middle of the sidewalk in the area of the girl’s old gym. His appearance generated more than the usual amount of speculation. Where did he come from? Who owned him legally? What disposition should be made of him? Finally a story evolved. The acquisition of Baldy was not above the board, and if he were to become a school tradition entitled to the honor which bona fide traditions deserve, restitution must be made. For Baldy was working his way into the hearts of too many people; nobody was willing to see him go.

 

For about a year the mascot’s position on the school campus was in question. Although the student body equated his presence with victory in any area of school competition, everyone knew that the record wasn’t clear. Finally Mr. Rushing Manning, an agriculture teacher at Pasadena High School from 1949-1953, decided to take the step that would either make legal Pasadena’s keeping the bird or would lose him to his rightful owners forever. Armed with nothing but courage, he approached the company’s officials and presented the facts.

 

The Case Implement Company had a patent on the “eagle that sits on top of the world,” They could neither sell it nor present it as a gift. They could, however, ignore the incident and consider the matter closed. This decision was to change the history of Pasadena High School. For without Baldy there could have been no green and white paper streamers flying from goal posts; no chants of “We are the Eagles.” “What kind of Eagles?” “Pasadena Eagles.”, no cries of “We want Baldy.” “We Want Baldy.” that frantic third quarter effort to rally the team was always sure to bring them from behind.

 

And now a great change came in Baldy. He had identity; he belonged. He was moved into a new home prepared especially for him. In a flower bed in front of the old New Wing, he sat, proudly facing east. It was here that his reincarnation occurred. He was no longer an object of stone, cold and unyielding; he had become a spirit, a vital, moving spirit, living in the hearts of every student, of every ex-student, and of every loyal Eagle fan who ever yelled with pride, “Let’s go, Eagles.”

 

As the school grew, so did Baldy’s reputation, and in 1953, when football competition reached an all time high, Baldy experienced a terrible thing. On the night before the Eagles met the neighboring Yellow Jackets in a crucial game, students from the rival school came onto the Pasadena High School campus, eluded those who were standing guard, and made off into the night with the cherished mascot. Again he was loosed from his concrete foundation, but in the process his body was broken into two pieces. One of those pieces was fastened to a rope and run up the Jacket’s flagpole; the whereabouts of the other remained a mystery. Feeling was running high on both sides of the channel. During the following week a student approached Mr. John Hoke, high school principal at Galena Park High School, and confided to him that he had some information that might be valuable if he could be guaranteed “immunity.” Assured he had nothing to fear, he led school officials to a spot in what is now the Northshore area, where, surely enough, one half of the might Baldy was hidden in a tree. The following morning Mr. Hoke with a delegation of students came into the office of Mr. Tillman White, Pasadena High School principal, and presented him, along with their apologies, the humble remains of what was once the “eagle that sits on top of the world.”

 

Mr. Houston McKissick, with the help of other maintenance people, spent days welding the pieces back together. Throughout this degradation Baldy’s mighty spirit had remained undaunted, and he proudly took up his reign again.

 

There were minor incidents in the years that followed; these he weathered and came through stronger than before. During any average football season he could expect a fresh coat of paint as often as once a week, and while his head might be red, orange, or blue, one thing was certain: it was always unbowed.

 

In the sixties, before there was a premium on hair, the football team initiated an unusual little practice that paid tribute to baldy and at the same time brought them luck in the season’s most significant game. On the evening in 1966 before this game, the team gathered at Senior Steve Ohm's house where his Dad proceeded to shave heads. The Eagles proved to be the better team that night vs Sam Rayburn, defeating them 14-0 in a battle of the gridiron. The ring leader of the shaved heads, #24 Steve Ohm, scored both touchdowns. These bald heads on the campus attested to the boy’s loyalty long after the cold winds of winter set in, winds that might have been tempered to the shorn lamb but with made no provision for a bald eagle.

 

In 1968 Baldy was to suffer another indignity. Again it was time for the game of the year. For two nights loyal Eagles had guarded the mascot, but before dawn someone let his guard down. When morning came, the damage was discovered. Not only had he been covered with a heavy coat of blue paint, his once proud head had been practically severed from his body. This meant another chore for the maintenance crew and another paint job for the art department.

 

In the spring of 1972, Baldy move again. In the spacious new cafeteria, opened that year, on a dais under the school seal, he took up permanent residence. No one challenges his right to be there, for where can he keep better watch over his subjects. Known for always being where the action is, he watches hundreds of Eagles go about the daily routine of school life – proud, courageous, strong-assured the spirit that made Pasadena High School great is alive and at work today and gives promise of enduring forever.

 

No mascot ever served a student body better. Through victory or defeat, the Eagles were always guided by his precepts, and he passed on to those who followed him his three innate characteristics: courage, bravery, and the desire to attain the utmost heights.

 

  We Want Baldy! We Want Baldy!