Tuesday, August 21, 2007

R.I.P. Wild Bill Hagy

Any Oriole fan of a certain age is bound to have fond memories of Wild Bill Hagy. My memory of Hagy is bound up with my early years of being an Oriole fan, particularly the 1979 season. Hagy was a Baltimore cabdriver and Oriole superfan who would lead cheers from the cheap seats of Memorial Stadium.

Hagy began a boycott of Oriole games in 1985 when the team stopped letting people bring their own beer to the stadium. He later started attending games again after the team moved to Camden Yards, but rarely led the crowd in his signature "O-R-I-O-L-E-S" cheer. He did it when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gerhig's consecutive games streak, and he did it one last time in Cooperstown when Ripken was inducted into the baseball hall of fame. Frankly, as beautiful as Camden Yards is, it has never matched Memorial Stadium for atmosphere, although that may have something to do with the declining quality of Oriole teams.

I would not be shocked to learn that Hagy was the inspiration for "Dancin' Homer" on The Simpsons. If there were a baseball fan's hall of fame, Hagy would be a shoo-in first ballot inductee.


Peter Hennig said...

Thanks for that video. It was certainly a different era back then when baseball fans could actually afford to go to games and they allowed byob.

I had forgotten this part about him:

"If ever an out-of-town fan happened into his cab wearing a Yankees hat, he ordered it removed. If the person refused, he refused the fare."

That's a true O's fan.

Pete Bilderback said...

We could use more of that spirit when all these damn Red Sox and Yankee fans take over the Yards. I am truly beginning to dislike Red Sox fans More than Yankee fans--something I never thought possible before.