Sourdough Sam

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Sourdough Sam in February 2009

Sourdough Sam is a mascot for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

An original collage art piece of Sourdough Sam hangs in Levi's Stadium and is located in the players' family room.[1]


Before the introduction of Sourdough Sam, the first mascot[2] for the 49ers was a mule wearing a red blanket named Clementine, appearing in the 1950s and 60s.[3] A gold rush prospector-themed character first appeared in the 1970s,[2] designed to reflect the cover art for programs created between 1946 and 1949 by William Kay when the 49ers were a part of the All-America Football Conference,[4] which depicted a bushy-mustached prospector with two pistols. The first mascot with the miner theme, a theme retained for all future mascots, was depicted as a large man with an oversized football helmet and plaid shirt directly referencing the shirt worn in the original William Kay images. Several elements, such as a bushy beard and suspenders, remained part of the image in later iterations.[5] This version of Sourdough Sam appeared on a cookbook titled 49er Fixens.[6]

His next design switched his helmet for a wide-brimmed ten-gallon hat with a chunk taken out of its brim, as well as a longer brown beard and brown eyes.[7] Just prior to the 2006 NFL Season, Sam's appearance was altered somewhat, appearing as a clean-shaven gold panner with blue eyes and a hat without any imperfections. A bearded Sourdough Sam returned for the 2011 season, retaining the blue eye color.


Sourdough Sam typically wears a cardinal football jersey, despite the 49ers' current selection of team color being 49ers Red, and his jersey number is 49. He wears a white long-sleeved shirt underneath the jersey and sports light brown gloves as well as a gold handkerchief around his neck. He also wears a large, dark brown cowboy hat emblazoned with the logo for the 49ers and dark brown boots. His jeans are held up by suspenders, and in 2014 he was outfitted with a new pair of Levi's jeans after 60 years of wearing a non-branded pair, with promotional images of his entering Levi's Taylor Shop and watching his custom pair be produced.[8][9] He sometimes carries a large pickax.

However, Sourdough Sam has made appearances with other outfits for special occasions. He has appeared with black boots and a black third jersey that was introduced in 2015,[10][11][12] a camouflage shirt and jacket with camouflage headband for military related appearances,[13][14][15] a red and white Santa suit-esqe top for holiday promotion,[16] and a pink shirt with purple handkerchief for breast cancer awareness efforts.[17] When meeting Snoop Dogg, Sourdough Sam wore shutter shades and a massive gold chain around his neck with the words "SOUR DIZZLE".[18]

Social media[edit]

He has a Facebook page with over 80,000 likes and a Twitter page with username @SourdoughSam49, both of which release posts referring to him in the first person. These social media outlets are often used for promotional advertising content portrayed as being endorsed by Sam himself, such as the Faithful 49 Loyalty Program and the 49ers' Kids Club.[19][20][21]

Sourdough Sam's birthday is April 9, likely coinciding with the month-date format of the day, 4/9.[22] In 2015, a video of Sourdough Sam making his own birthday cake was released on this date.[23]

Outside appearances[edit]

He has appeared on Fox, Monday Night Football, ESPN's SportsCenter, Extra, MTV, Evening Magazine, and Nickelodeon.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Sourdough Sam collage image | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  2. ^ a b "Team mascots of the past scored big points with fans". SFGate. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  3. ^ "Our SF: Crazy Crab leads the mascot hall of fame". SFGate. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  4. ^ Faulk, Steven (1 February 2011). "Before the NFL: Sourdough Sam's Swagger". Collector's Weekly. Market Street Media LLC. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Sourdough Sam Throwback Thursday image | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  6. ^ "Sourdough Sam 49er Fixens | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  7. ^ "Sourdough Sam Throwback Thursday 1995 | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  8. ^ "LOOK: 49ers Sourdough Sam mascot gets new pair of Levi's". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  9. ^ "PHOTO GALLERY: SOURDOUGH SAM RECEIVES BRAND NEW LEVI'S JEANS - Levi's® Stadium". Levi's® Stadium. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  10. ^ "49ers will wear alternate black uniforms in Monday night opener". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  11. ^ "Image of Sourdough Sam and Jerry Rice | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  12. ^ "Image of Sourdough Sam celebrating with pickax | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  13. ^ "Sourdough Sam aboard U.S.S. Somerset with military | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  14. ^ "Sourdough Sam standing among cheerleeders and players | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  15. ^ "Sourdough Sam saluting with military | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  16. ^ "Sourdough Sam with cheerleaders for holiday photo | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  17. ^ "Sourdough Sam with #FindACure poses | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  18. ^ "Sourdough Sam with Snoop Dog | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  19. ^ "Sourdough Sam - Looking to take your young 49ers Faithful... | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  20. ^ "Sourdough Sam with children | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  21. ^ "Sourdough Sam signed shirt promotion | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  22. ^ "Sourdough Sam birthday cake image | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  23. ^ dcbeatbox650 (2015-04-09), Let's Make a Cake!, retrieved 2016-02-06