Fandom in American Sports is one of this country’s most celebrated cultural aspects. Often, fans go to games and–amidst a crowd of fellow game goers– go home unnoticed. However, there are rare occasions when fans become just as famous–if not more so– than the players on the field. Sometimes iconic, sometimes loved, and sometimes vilified; RSVLTS has compiled a list for some of the most notable famous fans.
10. Steve “Bullpen Cop” Horgan
With a single snapshot, this Boston police officer hurdled himself into the Beantown- sacralized Fenway lore. With one image, the fan dedication to the Bostonian baseball team is captured in simultaneity with a singular pictorial expression of the Red Sox 2013 World Series run.
9. Jeff Maier
Jeff Maier is the positive counterpart to a certain Cubs fan who will appear later on this list. Earning celebrity status at a young age for turning a Derek Jeter-hit fly ball into a home run, Maier’s spectator heroics launched him into the world of Yankees folk heroes.
8. Rollen Stewart a.k.a John 3:16
During the seventies and eighties, Rollen Stewart held signs up of the Biblical verse John 3:16 in order to draw attention to himself—something he didn’t entirely need to do on account of his gaudy rainbow outfit. His religiosity would be his undoing, however, when he took three people hostage in 1992, believing the Rapture was imminent. He is currently serving three consecutive life sentences in California. Be sure to don your rainbow wig and hold a John 3:16 placard outside his parole review in 2017!
7. Jenn Sterger
A sports journalist for the New York Jets, Sterger was at the center of a Brett Favre controversy when she claimed that the former star quarterback sent her lewd or otherwise inappropriate text messages.
6. The Clemson Beer Drinker
In the American South, football—regardless of the level—is taken with the utmost of seriousness, which cultivates a culture of rabid fan devotion and excessive alcohol consumption accompanied with photobombing.
Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, and this Clemson student did so shirtless and covered in beer.
5. Oversized Face Guy
Not much can be said about this one. But, not a word exists in the human language that can describe this man’s poster boarded facial expression. Feel free to leave a comment if you come up with one—such an effort will likely require a recent dictionary, a thesaurus, and a god given gift for wordsmithing.
4. Redskins “Hogs”
Back when the Redskins were good (or back before Dan Snyder bought the team, whichever is preferred by the reader) they had one of the most formidable offensive lines in the history of the NFL. Dubbed “The Hogs” by Redskin nation, certain fans chose to take their fandom to whole new levels and don the likeness of a feminized… anthropomorphic… pig.
3. The Bleacher Creatures
There is a certain glory to having the worst seats in the house. And, that glory is immortalized with the ever-respected—and ever-rowdy—Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures. While this isn’t a singular person or a designated group of people, this ever-changing group of fans has earned salutes from pinstripe-clad players and shoutouts from the late, great Bob Sheppard.
2. Fireman Ed
The blue-collar superfan of the New York Jets, Fireman Ed was the chant leader at all of Gang Green’s home games. Unfortunately, amidst a tumultuous 2012 Jets Season, Fireman Ed opted to step down from his duties—something that undoubtedly makes MetLife Stadium less energetic on Sundays when the Jets are home.
1. Steve Bartman
Adding a “in” prefix the word “famous” is necessary when talking about the number one person on this list.
The Chicago Cubs—Major League Baseball’s longtime team of futility—were as close as they ever were in their now-greater than a century span of ineptitude. But, frustration mounted when the Cubs lost the NLCS and fans began to blame Steve Bartman’s dubious involvement with the field of play. Apparently taking the ball from Moises Alou in an attempt to catch a foul ball, Bartman was an anathema in Chicago for some time.