The phone call came at lunchtime from Ray Bachman — word was spreading around town that we had lost "Wild" Bill Hagy.
We didn’t want to report it, honestly, until we were sure of the circumstances and we wanted to make sure his family knew before we put it on the radio.
But, it’s with great sadness that we report that Bill Hagy died today at the age of 68.
I only had two autographs on my 1979 baseball mitt (a Tom Seaver-signed, Rawlings special) — Debbi Roenicke (wife of my favorite Oriole Gary Roenicke) and "Wild" Bill Hagy.
My Pop let me run up to Section 34 from Section 10 once in a while, and Bill signed my glove.
Over the 15-plus years I’ve been doing this, I’ve bumped into Bill Hagy more times than I can honestly count and he became a dear friend to our radio station. We were, like him, just Baltimore guys who loved Baltimore sports.
He is an icon at WNST. His image leading a cheer in Section 34 is the first GIANT photo you see when you walk into WNST’s offices. Without Bill Hagy, there IS no WNST!
Bill came to Anniversary shows, ballgames, events — he was incredibly popular and kinda omnipresent for many in Baltimore, probably because of what a unique-looking man he was. My favorite night was the one we did when the Orioles played the Phillies back in 2002. Bill agreed to come out and lead cheers and we sold almost 1,800 tickets in the upper deck for those ingrates over at the Orioles offices.
The Orioles made $100,000 that night. Bill got drunk and couldn’t lead cheers after the 5th inning!
Too many adoring fans bought him free beer over at Sliders before the game and Bill couldn’t turn down a fan who wanted to buy him an ice cold beer!
One thing you MUST know about Hagy — he LOVED "The Bob Haynie Show." He listened every day and dropped in with Bob pretty much whenever he had something to say.
Bill Hagy represents a time long gone in Baltimore, and one we pine away for and hope will return whenever we get a real baseball owner in this community.
Hagy’s thoughts about the Orioles of 2007 are pretty-well documented and not an iota different from my feelings.
Much like me — and many of the rest of us — he LOVED, if not WORSHIPPED the BALTIMORE Orioles, and thought their current demise was heartbreaking.
The last time I spoke to Bill — almost a year ago, right before The Rally — he reiterated that there was "nothing left to save."
"I’m through fighting with them," he told me. "I’m too old and it doesn’t do any good."
But Bill was in Cooperstown a few weeks ago, allowing himself one last chance to remember the good old days and all of the joy he felt and contributed to "Oriole Magic" and the lore of being on 33rd Street in Baltimore during the 1970s and 1980s.
We’re all going to miss Bill.
One day, when we REALLY DO get our BALTIMORE Orioles back, it would be great if there were a special tribute to Bill as "the greatest Oriole fan there ever was and will ever be."
I hope I live long enough to see it and I can think of him leading those cheers from Section 34 just one more time.
Rest in peace, Bill.
You led us through a lot of our memories … we’ll never forget you!