Here is a 2004 article from former “Pigskin Pete” Paul Weiler that reveals the history behind the Oski Wee Wee fan chant heard at Hamilton Tiger-Cat games for decades.
“In the Beginning”
by “Pigskin Pete” Paul Weiler
[Special to oski-oui-oui.com, 2004]
[Editor's note: Paul Weiler was the man behind the "Pigskin Pete" persona, a legendary mascot of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, for many years. He retired from that role in 2006. Paul was the third individual to be Pigskin Pete, preceded by Vince Wirtz and his son Bill. He is considered a Hamilton treasure by those who understand his love for the Cats and for Canadian football. (Russ Harrison)]
It was in 1924 at the Triple “A” Grounds where one of the two Hamilton teams played their home games. The name of the team was the Hamilton Tigers. A great fan of that team was a guy named Vince Wirtz.
Wirtz was of Austrian heritage, but his family migrated from Australia to Canada. The people from the area of Australia that Wirtz lived in loved the sport of cricket.
At cricket matches there, Aborigine supporters of the local team would start a dance. They would remove their headdresses and would bend forward into a stance while holding the headdress in front of them. They would push the headdresses twice to the right, twice in front of them, and then twice to their left sides. Then the headdresses would be waved over their heads to be taken in the other hand and waved back across their bodies to the other side.
During this dance, they would recite a verse in an effort to cheer on their team. Vince Wirtz took these movements and developed his own chant for the Tigers, which was:
Oskee Wee Wee
Whiskey Wa Wa
Tigers, Eat ‘Em Raw
Over the years, the fans have changed the words to “Oskee wee wee, Oskee wa wa,” etc.
Tiger-Cat management tried to get the fans to stick to the original version. Back in 1977, the management rented billboards across the city of Hamilton showing the proper words, but to no avail.
After much trying, I joined the fans and changed it to their version.
Outside of the Hamilton area, the phrase is not widely known. However, in the Hamilton area, I have been invited to baptisms, weddings, retirement parties, and yes, even funerals to give a final “Oskee Wee Wee.”
During the war years, R.C.A.F. pilots from the Hamilton training base would use the Oskee Wee Wee to identify themselves to one another while flying over Germany in foggy weather.
And according to the CBC movie Trudeau, when John Munro first met Pierre Trudeau for the first time, he explained to Pierre he was from Hamilton East, “you know, where they say ‘Oskee Wee Wee.’”
Well, that’s it for this edition. I hope you will revisit this page next week when we will talk more about what a wonderful, fun-loving person Vince Wirtz was. Bye for now, take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.
- Paul Weiler