A Brief History of Heckling
Some highs (and not-so-highs) in the history of fan and athlete interaction.
January 8th, 1942
Renowned cricket heckler Stephen Harold Gascoine dies. Known to many as "Yabba," (ha!) the Aussie was a regular at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where he would sit on a grassy patch called The Hill and fire quips such as, "I wish you were a statue and I were a pigeon."
December 15th, 1968
At halftime of the Eagles 24-17 season-ending loss to Minnesota, Philly fans, fed up with a team that would that managed just two wins that season, launch a downpour of boos—and snowballs—at Santa Claus. (There's also this.)
April 30th, 1993
Fresh off a Grand Slam win at the Australian Open, top-ranked women's tennis player Monica Seles is stabbed in the back during a quarterfinal match in Germany, the home country of archrival Steffi Graf. Seles would not compete again for nearly two and a half years.
Suns forward Charles Barkley treats Bullets fan and famed hoops heckler Robin Ficker to a seat at the NBA Finals just so Ficker can razz Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
May 29, 2001
After being sent to the penalty box during the third period of a game in Philadelphia, forward Tie Domi of the Toronto Maple Leafs squirts heckler Chris Falcone with water, then punches him after the glass partition between them gives way. For the water-squirting incident, Domi was fined $1,000, the league maximum. For the punching, he was fined zero dollars.
February 5th, 2003
With North Carolina's Jackie Manuel at the free throw line, Duke's grad section goes completely quiet while a student named Patrick King, aka Speedo Guy, does an interpretive dance wearing nothing more a banana hammock. Manuel misses both shots. For the contest, he goes 0-for-5 from the stripe.
Sept. 13, 2004
In Oakland, Rangers reliever Frank Francisco throws a chair into the stands at a male fan who allegedly made comments about teammate Doug Brocail's stillborn child. The chair ends up hitting heckler's wife in the face. Francisco is suspended for the remainder of the season, arrested, and sentenced to anger management classes.
December 7th, 2008
Nearly 66 years after his death, Yabba's wish is fulfilled, as a statue of "the most famous spectator any game has known" is erected in row two of Bay 15 of the Victor Trumper Stand concourse—the former site of The Hill—at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
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