The question I’ve been asked the most from Brew fan: "What’s your home run call?" Well, I hope I don’t disappoint you but I don’t have a home run call. I think I use "gone" a lot…Sometimes "outta here." But mostly I just call it as I see it. Is it a line drive? A high towering shot? Did he get enough? Here is my mental checklist for home runs (and any other big hits): Name, Score, Shut up." Especially during home games.
Now, I’m not opposed to home run calls. It’s just that all the good ones are taken. In my opinion, there are three ground rules for such calls: 1) If you’re in, or headed to, the Hall of Fame you can have a home run call. 2) No plagiarism. And, 3) Only one per team. Especially if that "one" is memorialized with ballpark signage.
I was a big fan of Harry Caray’s call, "It might be, it could be, it is…" said with the proper amount of slobber, of course. Vin Scully has a classic and by far the most imitated: "She is gooooone!" My broadcasting hero, Ernie Harwell, has a beauty too, "loooong gone." I like Bob Uecker’s "get up, get up, get outta here" because it’s a players call…something you’d hear in the dugout. Even though it’s quirky, Matt Vasgersian’s movie lines always crack me up and I find myself saying Hawk Harrelson’s "You can put it on the board, yyyes" quite a bit…mostly when I’m playing board games with my seven year old.
But my all time favorite home run call came from Russ Hodges, "The Shot Heard ‘Round the World." Bobby Thomson’s 1951 blast against Brooklyn resulting in a once-in-a-lifetime call that captured the moment perfectly with pure emotion. I believe it revolutionized the industry because until that point, announcers were expected to be mechanical and unbiased. The fanfare over that call made it acceptable for the true personalities of the broadcasters to be expressed on the air. How many great characters of the game do we have now, possibly because of the door that Russ Hodges opened with that call. It’s not technically perfect, but it’s straight from the heart and if you were listening to the Giants on the radio that day, you got the perfect picture painted for you: "There’s a long drive, it’s gonna be, I believe…THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT, THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT, THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT, THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT." Then he regroups a little, gives some details, then loses it again: "They’re going crazy, they’re going crazy…I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it!!!" Then he regroups again, gives some more details, then loses it again. Classic!
So much so that even a die-hard Dodger fan offered up the ONLY recording. Just think, Russ Hodges’ shot heard ’round the world doesn’t survive if this guy hadn’t made a bootleg recording of the entire game…then, despite his team’s losing, offering it up for all of us to enjoy. I’ve always wondered why he was listening to the Giants broadcast. Can you name the other two Hall of Fame announcers who called that home run? Answer below.
I’d like to hear about your favorite home run calls. What would yours be? Give me your entry in the "comments" box below.
And, finally, many have asked what Opening Day will be like for me…I believe this short video presentation properly captures the range of emotions I’ll be experiencing on that day. click
And finally-finally, I leave with you with these guys: click If you happen to be at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona, February 19th…I’ll see you there…Enjoy!
Answer: Ernie Harwell (TV) and Red Barber (Dodgers radio).