What will replace Prospector Pete at CSULB? Readers have some ideas

The Prospector Pete mascot pumps up the crowd at a Long Beach State men's basketball game at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach in 2014. (Press-Telegram file photo)
The Prospector Pete mascot pumps up the crowd at a Long Beach State men's basketball game at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach in 2014. (Press-Telegram file photo)

We are seriously enjoying the feedback over the Prospector Pete flap at Cal State Long Beach. It’s a lot more entertaining than the Robert E. Lee issue, which is giving us a headache (“Did you know that Lincoln was a Republican and the Klan was founded by Democrats?” Yes, but shut up.)

“Sweet Jesus!” cried Charlie Dodson, who got his bachelor’s degree at CSULB in 1977, his teaching credential in 1995 and his master’s in 2007 and never knew the mascot had a name. “If our society can endure the grisly heritage of the San Diego State Aztecs and the Northridge Matadors, who presumably live to torment the Dominguez Toros; if we can live with the animal abuse implicit in the Cal Poly Bronco, surely Long Beach State doesn’t have to stoop to the level of Cal State L.A. with Eddie the Eagle. Sounds like Henson Muppet.”

Jan Libourel writes, “I might make the semi-facetious suggestion that if they wish to keep the 49er moniker, they could replace him with a Chinese 49er, perhaps calling him Prospector Li. The Chinese were a major element in the Gold Rush immigration. Initially welcomed, they later became the objects of discrimination and ultimately savage pogroms. Prospector Li would be a welcoming figure symbolizing diversity and inclusion.

“While by no means were all the white 49ers homicidal, Pete probably has to go, yet savage predatory animals – bears, lions, panthers, cougars, etc. – remain totally PC.”

Maggie (maggiemark7 on email) notes that “Latinos and American Indians NEVER discuss their ancestors’ extremely violent pasts” and, “Speaking of The Beach (which you were), haven’t you heard of Killer Tsunamis?”

George Kent writes (and we’ll spare you his ALL CAPS), “Will the next mascot be male, female or transgender? Will it be a person of color? How about an animal? Watch out for that; you know what kind of trouble that can bring. Maybe you can start backwards and work from the bottom up: How about an amoeba?”

Yeah, OK, so they weren’t all good, but at least readers were putting some thought into it and not reciting Lost Cause myths about the Gentleman Lee and his loving, coddling treatment of his happy-go-lucky slaves.

Our favorite comes from Olympic rower John Van Blom, who writes, “NO, not Prospector Pete! And The Beach as an alternative? Are you kidding me? Do you know how many lives the beach has taken? A lot more than a bunch of entrepreneurial prospectors. Sure, the prospectors may have killed a few of the locals, but that’s what we humans do – kill and conquer.


“And just remember this: Without prospectors we wouldn’t have Levi’s.”

And, as an afterthought, Van Blom sent us a photo of a trophy he was awarded when he was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame in 1982. It’s a statue of the soon-to-be worthless Prospector Pete.

Writes the three-time Olympics sculler, “What am I supposed to do with this?”

No idea. Maybe it could pass for Prospector Li.

Contact Tim Grobaty at 562-714-2116, tgrobaty@scng.com, @grobaty on Twitter.

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