'Krazy' Inventor of the Wave Celebrates
Thursday, October 26, 2006; 12:30 AM
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Krazy George Henderson has spent the last quarter-century trying to persuade everyone that he debuted the "Wave" during an Oakland Athletics' playoff game against the Yankees _ not those Washington football fans who claim the Huskies first performed the now famous cheer.
Debate aside, the Wave is 25 years old and still going strong.
"It's been really interesting," Krazy George said in a phone interview from his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. "I see it at the Olympics. There's a video of Fidel Castro doing it. If it had actually originated in New York at a Yankees game, they would have thought it was sent by the gods."
Krazy George, now 62, says he spent three years perfecting the Wave. He first pulled off the move _ in which fans take turns, by section, standing up and waving their arms _ on Oct. 15, 1981, at the Yankees-A's AL championship series game in the Coliseum. Washington, meanwhile, did it two weeks later, on Oct. 31.
Former Husky yell leader Robb Weller had returned to campus for a homecoming game against Stanford. He began a vertical version of the Wave in the '70s, but first did the horizontal Wave that day.
Officials at Washington acknowledge Krazy George as being first, but what they are certain of is that the Huskies popularized the cheer. It soon caught on at a Seattle Seahawks game, too.
It took a year and a half, according to Krazy George, for the Huskies to fess up that they'd seen the Wave on television and given it their own twist. Good thing, too, because he has the proof on tape: The Wave was part of the A's 1981 highlight video shown to potential season ticket holders for the following year.
"That's the best-kept lie in the last 25 years. But now, most of the world recognizes me," Krazy George said. "Their theory is that they came up with it in 30 seconds! 'Oh, we just thought it up.'
"They kept doing it the whole football season and of course they were a big national football power with a big budget. I tell everyone to call Seattle and get their side of the story. It's like a war with me."
Krazy George, known best by that name and for pounding his drum in stadiums across the United States, is a California native who moved north to Napa from Southern California at age 17. He left for New York three years ago.
A former high school shop teacher, Krazy George's lone job the last 30 years has been as a for-hire cheerleader _ working all of about three hours a week. Yes, that's it. He averages one game every seven days.
In that first Wave game, the Yankees eliminated the A's 4-0 to reach the World Series. Dave Righetti, now the San Francisco Giants' pitching coach, was the winning pitcher. A crowd of 47,302 was on hand for the first Wave.