Orioles' unofficial cheerleader dies

Aug. 21, 2007 at 3:19 PM
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BALTIMORE, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A Baltimore cab driver who became an unofficial cheerleader for the Baltimore Orioles and one of the team’s best-known fans has died.

William “Wild Bill” Hagy was 68 when he died Monday, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Hagy began attracting attention in the late 1970s as he led crowds in Section 34 of Memorial Stadium in the O-R-I-O-L-E-S chant, using his body to form the letters.

"He'd say he was just going to get a beer or go to the bathroom, but then, all of a sudden, you'd see him up on the dugout leading cheers," Wayne Kaiser, a longtime friend, told the Sun.

In an era when the team’s performance was spotty, Hagy became an attraction by himself. He developed individual cheers for each player.

But in 1985, when the stadium barred fans from taking their own beer into the stadium, he stopped attending games.

Hagy returned to the Orioles several years after the move to Camden Yards, the Sun said. He was in the stands when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s record for most games played. More recently, he traveled to Cooperstown, N.Y., to see Ripken installed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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