Ahead of Krazy George's autobiography debut, we caught up with the professional cheerleader on his first experience with the Quakes, how he got involved with cheering for us, his best entrances, and the first match at Spartan Stadium.
The inventor of the wave will officially release his new book "Still Krazy After All these Cheers" at the Quakes home match vs. Real Salt Lake on August 30. He will be available in the Epicenter from 5:30-7:15 p.m. to sign copies for fans.
SJEarthquakes.com: Tell me about your first Earthquakes experience.
Krazy George: It was 1974, the first game ever for the Earthquakes. It was just like being at Camelot I guarantee. It was such a special feeling for the community at large, for the Earthquakes players and for me. I can't put in words the excitement; it gave the town an identity they’ve never had before. They were like the little nothing town for Oakland and San Francisco and the Quakes gave them that Major League image, it was just super.
SJEQ: How did you get tied in with the Earthquakes?
KG: It’s a long story but Dick Berg was the General Manager and he saw me a few years before . He was a graduate of Stanford and he went to a Stanford game and he saw that I got 3,000 people out cheering the 50,000 Stanford fans when I was leading San Jose State. He never forgot it. And then he became the manager of the Earthquakes and I guess one of the first things he told me when I interviewed him once is that he remembered what I did with the crowd. So he started researching me and found that I was with San Jose State and I was a pretty well known quantity here. He approached me and offered me to cheer for him for the Earthquakes' first season.
SJEQ: Why do you think the town was so connected with the team?
KG: I think that was a strategy that Dick Berg put into place. That image that this is their first Major League team and it was in San Jose made people want to be involved with the Quakes. Secondly, Dick Berg started this system of putting the players out in every place in San Jose. You name a function a player was there, promoting the sport at youth soccer leagues, at business meetings. Any get together Dick Berg could get a player there he did and it became a very family oriented group.
SJEQ: You’ve done a ton of stunts, like sliding down the dunk trunk. What were some of your best entrances?
KG: The first game ever had 16,000 people, the whole place was packed and an ambulance came onto the field. Nobody knew what was happening, the ambulance goes across the field and pulls up in front of the players’ bench. They pull out the gurney and everyone was dead silent. They pull the blanket off of me and everyone went nuts and from then on I brought in a ball for every game for that first season. I had some great entrances.
SJEQ: Tell me more about the story of why the first game got delayed 45 minutes? What were the circumstances of that?
KG: They were probably expecting 6 or 8 thousand but they had no idea. All at once there was a hundred people deep at each of the booths trying to buy tickets. Nobody could get in, so they had to delay the game. For forty-five minutes they sold tickets and sold tickets and they finally started the game when they had 15,000 people in. No team was drawing more than 8,000 people a game and now here we are the new team in the league and we put 15,000 in the seats, unheard of.