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What’s Vita the Goat, and why’s it on a t-shirt? We’re glad you asked

If only Egnaro could make an appearance...

Goat breastfeeds a fawn in Istanbul zoo Photo by Orhan Akkanat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Given the relative lack of amazing throwback apparel for the Syracuse Orange over the years, it’s always a surprise when something truly awesome pops up.

I have a few pretty solid “happy Otto” tees, and that 2003 Carmelo Anthony jersey tee was pretty awesome when it came out late last year (you can still find those online too). But SU rarely taps into the history of its sports logos and mascots too far into the past. Perhaps that’s due to a lack of creativity from them/Nike. There’s also the issue of... well, a logo like this, which we have no desire to see on merch.

All of that said, it was awesome and surprising to see a shirt based on early SU sports macot Vita the Goat pop up this week (note, this is not a paid post for SU).

Of course, the question I got on Twitter from several folks (and will get from several of you as well, I’m sure) is “who’s Vita the Goat?”

Well, Vita, as Syracuse’s archives tell it, made appearances during football games in the 1920s, dressed with signage to beat certain opponents (so it was basically a hashtag, before such a thing existed). It spent games on a leash at Archbold Stadium, controlled by likely overwhelmed freshmen. There’s no official word on why Vita was retired in favor of the Saltine Warrior at the time, though a couple theories: the freshmen weren’t great at their jobs, Vita was ornery, the Saltine Warrior conveyed a “more powerful” image for the team.

In any case, now you know who Vita is. So when you buy one, or see someone wearing one, you’ll at least know the backstory. Who’s this shirt for? Honestly, feel like it’s mostly this group. Now if only they could get us one with Egnaro the Troll on it. Any image produced of that guy would be the first.