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 (above) 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.
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.
“We put it on the map in 1981,” said Shooty Babitt, a rookie on the ’81 A’s. “A lot of people wish the Wave would go away now. A lot of people don’t understand when you should do it. … The new-age fan doesn’t understand where the Wave originated. But Krazy George still looks the same today as he did 25 years ago.”