Connect with us

Clay Henry

CLAY HENRY: Hognoxious, you can’t go just yet!

Legendary Razorback fan that was gigantic pain for opponents at Baum-Walker Stadium retiring after 40 years of following Hogs everywhere.



It was the fifth inning when Bobby Smittle dropped the bomb. We were talking about Keith Guitin’s last game in Baum-Walker Stadium.

There would be no more talk about the Missouri State baseball coach after Smittle delivered shocking news.

“This is my last year,” Smittle said. “It’s year No. 40 and I’m out.”

Oh, my gosh.

No more Hognoxious at Baum-Walker Stadium? Maybe there is one last run to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series, but it’s going to be a sad ending for 2024 if it’s the last for the greatest heckler in Razorback history.

In the name of Norm DeBriyn, say it ain’t so.

Don’t go! There is a job to do and there is no one better to do it.

We need you, Hognoxious!

They always say that when a legend retires someone will eventually take their place. The first to try to fill those big shoes will fail. It will be like that for the next to wave a baby bottle at a crying coach in the visitor’s dugout.

But mark this down in all caps, there will never be another Hognoxious. Ever.

You know Hognoxious. He’s front and center at most Razorbacks events. He’s the loudest and most vicious heckler ever to roll into a stadium supporting the Hogs.

He’s a pro. He’s had plenty of TV time. He is widely known around college baseball as the best (or worst, depending on the color shirt you are wearing).

He’s most obvious at baseball, sitting in the first row above the visitor’s dugout. Opposing players would do well to laugh him off, but most can’t. He digs under their skin like one million wasps coming at you from a nest. If you turn to look, it only gets worse.

Umpires know him as public enemy number one. None do it any better at an SEC ball park. They hear him and they don’t dare look. Hognoxious was after the umpire after one pitch last week when I sat beside him. He said, “You’ve been bad all day.”

Hognoxious-Clay Henry

Smittle has had a great run. He’s been a constant at all Razorback sporting events, but he can’t do it any longer. His family knows it’s worn on him.

“It’s been 40 years,” Smittle said. “It’s time. My wife can’t sit here for three hours anymore. It’s time.”


Time to do what isn’t clear. Maybe he’s going to hang out more with grand kids. For sure, there will be more funds to do other stuff. Baseball tickets are too expensive these days and he’s always bought his own.

“When I got started doing this at old George Cole Field, it was $100 for four season tickets,” Smittle said. “It’s a lot more expensive now for these good seats.”

I’ve always enjoyed Smittle’s routine. There is the constant waving of different flags. There is the baby bottle for a whiny coach. There is a boot hanging from a stick when an opposing player makes an error. There is a broom to sweep the visitor’s dugout when a three-game sweep is near.

I watched it all last Wednesday in the last midweek game of the season. Smittle has asked me for three years to join him for a midweek game. I didn’t realize it was THE last one until we were almost done.

“This is fun,” he said. “I’m glad you finally came. We will enjoy having you and make it a big time.”

It’s a treat to sit in that section. It’s really Bobby’s section. He’s got close friends all around him. Donny Story, recently retired from Arvest, was a few seats down from us and stayed after Smittle for too much conversation with me and not enough angst towards the ump.

“Donny is the main cook at our tailgate, along with his son Kyle,” Smittle said. “It’s fun here, isn’t it? It was an honor and joy to have you join us at the game. We’ve all wanted to get you down here on our row.”

Oh, it’s an incredible row. Wife Jennifer is there for weekend games and kids Stephanie and Scotty, once tykes at old George Cole Field, make a few games.

Smittle and I posed for pictures. We faked his pose that went viral during the NCAA tournament a few years ago when he had a stare down with an umpire as ESPN cameras zoomed close. I tried to look as mean as Smittle, but judge that for yourself.

It was the next week at Omaha that I found Smittle outside the park and took a photo of him in that pose. It was in front of the statue by the main gate, an iconic photo opportunity for all who come to the College World Series.

“I think I got my picture with a lot of our fans – and some not our fans – that entire week, with me pointing into the camera,” Smittle said. “That was my 15 seconds of fame. Stephanie called me just after that game and said, ‘Dad, you have gone viral. Everyone is talking about that no matter where I go.’”

That is one of his great memories since becoming Hognoxious. But his favorite came early in his heckling career.

“It was the first time we hosted a volleyball regional,” Smittle said. “I got tickets right beside the net, best seats in the house. You are right on top of the action.

“Just before the game Frank Broyles walked past us. He stopped and said, ‘Glad you are right here. I just wish we had 5,000 more just like you coming tonight.’ Oh, you talk about sticking out my chest in pride.

“To have Frank Broyles say that really meant a lot. It was a great moment for me.”



Smittle apologizes a bit for his nickname.

“I know you are not supposed to come up with your own nickname,” he said. “But I did. I was at the mall and wanted a new T-shirt made. I thought, maybe I can just put a nickname on the back but I didn’t have one. It hit me that Hognoxious was a good one.

“I wasn’t sure how that would go, but it stuck. It just seemed right.”

Does it ever. I wouldn’t dare try to top that.

It’s too late anyway. Hognoxious is calling it quits.

The Hogs play host to Mississippi State in the last regular season home series starting Friday. They are likely to play host to post-season games, too. So it’s not over.

But it is coming to a close soon.

I hold out hope that he’ll make a comeback. He stopped being Hognoxious for five baseball seasons to become head of ushers with the retirement of Curt Yates and John Phillips.

“I didn’t like that,” he said. “(UA administration) kept telling me to change things up from the way Curt and John did it. Why? It was perfect. All the ushers had been working the same sections and knew their people. They wanted me to move people around the park. It didn’t make sense.”

So he returned to the stands and picked up where he left off.

If you wonder how a Hog Call starts at Baum-Walker, it’s not a big secret. Smittle looks across to the other side of the stands where Jim Eden hangs the Ks after strikeouts.

“We both know when it’s best, like when an opposing coach goes to the mound to talk to the pitcher,” Smittle said. “Jim and I both stand up and it starts.”

When he is out of character, Smittle is one of the nicest guys on the planet. He’s perfect for his day job, driving a van for a cancer treatment facility. He often hauls patients from out of state. He has a caring side, incredibly nice.

Don’t tell that to umpires or opposing coaches or players as they step onto the field at Baum-Walker.

Sometime during the 2025 season they might realize he’s gone. Sorry, Hognoxious, but they aren’t going to miss you.