Definition: A billiken is a good-luck charm that looks like a cross between a Buddha statue, a kewpie doll, and old Weekly World News fave Bat Boy. Purported to be a representation of "the god of things as they ought to be," billikens were tremendously popular in 1910-1912 -- to the extent that may collectibles websites refer to the phenomenon as "billikenmania."
How did the Billken come to represent St. Louis University sports teams?John Bender, SLU's football coach at the height of the billiken fad, apparently bore a more-than-passing resemblance to the character, and a local sportswriter started referring to the team as "Bender's Billikens." The name stuck, and eventually came to represent all St. Louis University teams.
-- Source: Billikens.com