Ronnie Woo Woo
Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers (born October 31, 1941) is a longtime Chicago Cubs fan and local celebrity in the Chicago area. He is known to Wrigley Field visitors for his idiosyncratic cheers at baseball games, generally punctuated with an exclamatory "Woo!" (e.g., "Cubs, woo! Cubs, woo! Big-Z, woo! Zambrano, woo! Cubs, woo!") Longtime Cubs announcer Harry Caray dubbed Wickers "Leather Lungs" for his ability to shout for hours at a time.
Wickers grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Born premature and abused by his mother, he was raised by his grandmother, who brought him to his first Chicago Cubs games during the late 1940s. Wickers explained in a 2004 Chicago Tribune interview that he started "wooing" in 1958 or 1959. "It just came to be. I had fun with it," he remarked. He has remained a fixture at Wrigley Field ever since, even singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during a May 24, 2001 game. In 2005, filmmaker Paul Hoffman released a documentary film about Wickers, called WooLife. The film premiered at the Chicago Historical Society.
Wickers worked nights as a custodian at Northwestern University for much of his life. After the deaths of both his grandmother and girlfriend in the 1980s, a distraught Wickers found himself homeless and without a stable job. From 1984 to 1990, he attended Cubs games with donated tickets. Wickers was absent at Wrigley Field games for a brief period in 1987, which prompted some Cubs fans to worry that he had died. He eventually contacted news organizations to say that he was alive and well. Since 1990, most of Wickers' income has come from washing windows in the neighborhood around Wrigley Field. He also makes paid appearances at parties and has starred in local commercials. In 2000, two Wrigleyville bar owners organized a much-publicized fundraiser to provide Wickers with a new pair of dentures.
Wickers was treated and released from Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical center after being hit by a car after a Cubs game on April 18, 2005. He has since recovered. Upon leaving Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical center he was struck by another vehicle and was released on April 29, 2005.
As of 2016, Ronnie is still attending Cubs games, taking pictures with fans and tourists alike.
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- Kelly, Maura (28 May 2001). "'Leather Lungs' a hit at Wrigley, wooing fans with schtick and song". Boston Globe.
- Hoekstra, Dave (1 April 2005). "Woo Who". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Rapoport, Ron (24 May 2001). "Like it or not, Ronnie represents Cubs spirit". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Carroll, Jeff (3 March 2005). Northwest Indiana Times. Missing or empty
- "Cubs get their fan". New York Times. 28 May 2007.
- Konkol, Mark (April 19, 2005). "Car hits 'Woo Woo,' leaves him with boo-boo". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 18.