Wild Bill Hagy

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William Hagy
Wild Bill Hagy.jpg
Born (1939-06-17)June 17, 1939
Died August 20, 2007(2007-08-20) (aged 68)
Arbutus, Maryland
Nationality American
Other names "Wild Bill"
Occupation Cab driver
Known for "O-R-I-O-L-E-S" cheer

William "Wild Bill" Hagy (June 17, 1939 – August 20, 2007) was an American baseball fan and cab driver from Dundalk, Maryland who led famous "O-R-I-O-L-E-S" chants during the late 1970s and early '80s from section 34 in the upper deck at Memorial Stadium.[1]

Life[edit]

Hagy grew up in Sparrows Point, Maryland and drove an ambulance, an ice cream truck, and eventually a cab until he retired in 2004.

Hagy's chants and persona developed him into an icon associated with the Baltimore Orioles for years.[1] While leading cheers from "The Roar from 34" at Memorial Stadium, Wild Bill became a Baltimore institution. Standing at six foot two inches tall with what most would describe as a "beer belly", Hagy was an easily recognized figure at the ball park, always adorned in sun glasses and a straw cowboy-styled hat. Hagy found the inspiration in his cheers from Leonard "Big Wheel" Burrier, a famous fan who led the Baltimore Colts in similar cheers.

Hagy is said to symbolize the term "Orioles Magic" as his cheers sometimes led to comeback victories for the Orioles.[2][3] Eventually the team recognized his enthusiasm and let him do his Orioles cheers from atop the dugout.[1] Hagy's fame led him to meet Presidents such as Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and to get writeups in The New York Times.[3][4]

In 1985, Hagy boycotted Memorial Stadium for not being allowed to bring in his own beer. At the end of a game he tossed his cooler of beer onto the field, never to return.[5]

Hagy did return to Camden Yards however, the night Cal Ripken broke the longtime record for consecutive games played. Hagy led the fans in his famous cheer on one of baseball's greatest nights.[6]

Hagy's last known O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer was performed at Ripken's Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York. Hagy died at his home in Arbutus, Maryland in 2007.[1]

Hagy is in the Orioles Hall of Fame.[7]

Orioles honor Hagy[edit]

On Tuesday, June 17, 2008 the Baltimore Orioles honored "Wild" Bill Hagy one more time by handing out honorary #34 T-shirts on their "T-shirt Tuesday." [8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Ginsburg, David (20 August 2007). "O-R-I-O-L-E-S fan 'Wild Bill' Hagy dead at 68". USA Today. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Burke, Mike (22 August 2007). "A team, a time ... one wild cabbie named Bill". Cumberland Times-News. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Walker, Childs (21 August 2007). "A team, a time ... one wild cabbie named Bill". The Baltimore Sun. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Dave (9 October 1979). "Series foes Orioles, Pirates play the game for fun". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Wild Bill is a little too wild, faces misdemeanor charge". The Baltimore Sun. 5 July 1985. 
  6. ^ Hirsch, Arthur (7 September 1995). "Wild Bill leads cheers 1 more time 2,131". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Orioles Hall of Fame". Orioles Advocates. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Aparicio, Nestor. "Happy Birthday to Wild Bill Hagy". WNST. Retrieved 2 September 2011.