Non-Streaking Fans Who Stormed the Field of Play
When Roger Federer finally picked up the elusive French Open crown and his 14th career Grand Slam on Sunday, he didn't do it alone. During the second set, a fan charged the court and tried to perch a hat on the Swiss star's head before being carried off the court by security guards. It was certainly odd to see maniacal fan behavior at one of tennis' most hallowed venues, but it's certainly not unheard of. Let's have a look at some other non-streaking fans who interjected themselves into game action.
1. Fan Man
Remember this early-1990s nuisance? James Miller, better known as the Fan Man, literally crashed onto the national sports scene when he descended into Caesar's Palace during a 1993 boxing match between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield. Miller, who was wearing a fan-and-parachute contraption known as a powered paraglider, couldn't quite make it into the ring, and when he crashed ringside, he took a thorough beating from security officers.
For most people, ruining a heavyweight fight and then getting their tail kicked would probably lead them to find a new hobby. Not Miller, though. The next year he rode into a Raiders-Broncos game at the Coliseum in Los Angeles and skydived into an English soccer game. He ran afoul of British authorities in 1994 when he covered himself in paint and landed on top of Buckingham palace. That stunt cost him 42 days in jail, a fine, and a lifetime ban from the United Kingdom.
2. Gunter Parche
Most court-chargers seem to be well-intentioned (if misguided) attention-seekers. Parche was a terrifying exception, though. During a 1993 tennis match in Hamburg, the out-of-work lathe operator infamously stormed the court and stabbed Monica Seles with a boning knife. Although a whole stadium full of people saw Parche stab the tennis star, he never spent a day in jail for his act. He beat an attempted murder charge by claiming that he didn't want to kill Seles, just injure her enough so Steffi Graf, the object of his obsession, could regain the world's top tennis ranking. Parche ended up getting a suspended sentence and undergoing psychiatric therapy.
Over two years later, Seles returned to the court, and she even picked up an Australian Open title after her comeback. However, to protest the light sentence Parche got for attacking her, Seles never played another match in Germany.
3. Britt Gaston and Cliff Courtney
If you watch sports, you've seen the highlight of Hank Aaron hitting his 715th career homer to become baseball's all-time dinger king in 1974 dozens of times. As the Hammer rounds the bases, he's joined by two exuberant young men who run with him all the way to third base, then trot out of the frame in an attempt to escape the authorities. Just like that, Gaston and Courtney, who would soon start attending the University of Georgia, became parts of one of baseball's most iconic moments.
History may regard the jogging pair as a quirky little oddity, but the Atlanta police weren't so amused. Gaston and Courtney couldn't make it out of the stadium without getting nabbed by the cops, who took them to jail. After three hours in the clink, Gaston's dad, who had also been at the game, bailed the boys out. After Aaron allegedly pressed for leniency for his two fans, they ended up with $100 fines for "disorderly conduct and interfering with the lawful occupation of another." It was probably worth it, though; when the Braves reenacted Aaron's shot in 1994, the team tracked down Gaston and Courtney to reprise their parts.
4. The Ligue Family
Not every pair of field-chargers can be as affable as Gaston and Courtney, though. Take, for instance, William Ligue, Jr., and his 14-year-old son, Michael. During a 2002 White Sox-Royals game at Chicago's Comiskey Park, the duo stormed the field and viciously beat Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa before being intercepted by security. Despite giving Gamboa such a ferocious throttling that he lost part of his hearing, neither Ligue saw any jail time after being charged with multiple counts of aggravated battery and mob action. Instead they got probation for the attack. Of course, when you're as classy as the Ligues, you're going to end up in prison at some point. Ligue received a 57-month sentence in 2006 for breaking into a car.
5. Rick Monday Makes a Save
Rick Monday won a World Series ring with the Dodgers in 1981, and he made two All-Star teams during his career. The longtime centerfielder is probably most remembered for an on-field act that didn't involve his bat or glove. In 1976, Monday was visiting Dodger Stadium while playing for the Cubs. During the game, a father and son jumped onto the field and attempted to burn an American flag in the outfield grass near Monday. The pair of protesters had some trouble getting their matches lit, though, and when Monday realized what they were trying to do, he bolted over to them, grabbed the flag, and took off running while security apprehended the flag burners. Monday, who had previously spent several years in the Marine Corps Reserves, told reporters, "If you're going to burn the flag, don't do it around me. I've been to too many veterans' hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it."