A plastic statue of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s founder, Colonel Sanders, that was a lucky charm for superstitious Japanese baseball fans has been “disposed of” 15 years after being dredged out of an Osaka river.

Jubilant supporters of Osaka’s Hanshin Tigers, known for being Japan’s most passionate baseball fans, flung the effigy – and themselves – into the Dotonbori River in 1985 after winning Japan’s version of the World Series.

But as the years went by and the Tigers’ fortunes faltered, a belief took hold among fans dubbed the “Curse of the Colonel” that success would return only if the life-sized doll was recovered.

The bearded statue was found during construction work in 2009 and salvaged, covered in sludge and missing his glasses and left hand. It was cleaned up, blessed by a priest and put on display.

The alleged jinx took some time to be exorcised, but last year the Tigers finally won the Japan Series again after a 38-year wait, prompting wild celebrations and more jumping into the river.

KFC said on Tuesday the statue was “too dilapidated to maintain” and would be disposed of.

But first, a ritual “showing our gratitude” was held at a temple and attended by KFC’s Japan president, Takayuki Hanji, who offered Japanese sake along with the chain’s signature fried chicken.

Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celeb News

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