Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.
The mystical, shadowy entity from Wayne County folklore known as “The Boogercat” is back in the Huntington zeitgeist with the announcement that summer baseball is returning to the Jewel City in 2024. Read more on that HERE.
The Huntington “Boogercats” is one name that has been proposed for the new baseball team and it has left some fans bewildered at its meaning and origin.
Diehard Marshall fans are pointing to the name as one proposed for MU sports teams in the 1930s.
According to the official university history, then-sportswriter for the Huntington Advertiser Dug Freutel began referring to Marshall teams as the “Boogercats” in 1933. Freutel claimed the name referred to Scotland’s “Bogie Cats” of yore, a fleet, elusive, courageous animal from the Highlands. He complained that “Thundering Herd” made one think of “cows stampeding down a country road,” but many people thought “Boogercats” was much worse.
The Boogercats/Thundering Herd debate eventually prompted an Alumni Association special meeting, and Thundering Herd was chosen by a vote of students and alumni. But the Boogercats name may be back in 2024…at least for summer league baseball.
In Huntington history, the Boogercat is not unique to Marshall University athletics. According to the Wayne County News from January 2, 1936, a “real” Boogercat once stalked the woods around Cabwaylingo State Park. The mysterious animal was killing livestock in the area when a group of about 20 men tracked it down and shot it on Christmas Eve 1935. However, nobody could identify what kind of animal it was so the mystery did not die with the creature.
The Boogercat’s body was sent off to Charleston to be identified, where experts decided it was a Grey Wolf. This explanation did not satisfy the locals as nobody believed that Grey Wolves could live in the modern era so close to people and not be detected—it MUST be a Boogercat.
Regardless of the backstory, I think we can all agree that heading out to Jack Cook Field to cheer on the Huntington Boogercats would be a distinctly Huntington way to spend a summer.
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