By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Twins will soon be on the hunt for a new mascot.

T.C. Bear isn’t going anywhere, but the man behind the character is parting ways with the team.

The Twins say the move is one of several front office and baseball changes at the organization. WCCO’s Erin Hassanzadeh shows us the hard work our original T.C. Bear put in over the years.

There’s been one man behind the T.C. Bear mascot uniform for nearly 20 years, now that it’s official he’s parting ways with the team, he leaves some pretty big shoes to fill.

He’s the face of the franchise.

“I think especially baseball kids relate to the mascot more so than the players,” said Sue Reichling.

In 2000, kids across Minnesota voted; they wanted T.C. Bear to be their Twins mascot. And ever since, one man, Greg Wilfahrt, has brought the character to life.

“I guess I never thought about the person inside,” said Sherry Rue.

After nearly 20 years, Wilfahrt is hanging up his hat and bat.

“T.C. Bear has just been so amazing over the years in coming in and brightening days,” Allie Smulka, a development associate at Children’s Minnesota Foundation said.

T.C. Bear’s work does not stop at the ballpark. He’s been a regular at Children’s Minnesota over the years.

Visiting recently, to brighten a few days.

“I think it takes a very special, unique, just incredible human to play the role of a mascot,” Smulka said. “Especially T.C Bear, if you’re going to look like a teddy bear and waltz up to kids you have to have that magic twinkle.”

Our viewers are sharing their personal memories with T.C. Bear.

And we have a few of our own, going toe to toe with him at Target Field, watching him challenge other mascots in our studio during the Final Four.

We’ve fished beside him, cheered beside him and he’s gotten us through more than 1,000 nail-biting games.

The next T.C Bear will certainly need to be a great bear indeed.

“It was just so natural he’s so good at what he does,” Smulka said.

The Twins say they plan to hold open auditions to replace T.C. Bear in the near future. If you want to follow along with the original T.C Bear, his new twitter account is “@originaltcBear1.”

Erin Hassanzadeh