Question of the day: What’s your all-time favorite baseball call? [Updated]
[Updated at 11:28 a.m.:
Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
It was two of the slowest legs in baseball against one of the strongest arms.
But there was Atlanta’s Sid Bream, chugging around third base in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series, trying to beat the throw from Pittsburgh left fielder Barry Bonds after a single by pinch-hitter Francisco Cabrera.
“Justice has scored the tying run, Bream to the plate, and he is … SAAAAFE!” bellowed CBS announcer Sean McDonough. “Safe at the plate! The Braves go to the World Series!”
Bream slid in just ahead of the tag from catcher Mike LaValliere, setting off pandemonium at Fulton County Stadium as the Braves smothered their hero at home plate in celebration of an improbable come-from-behind victory.
When Bream had drawn a walk off reliever Stan Belinda to load the bases with nobody out, announcer Tim McCarver noted how consideration had to be given to whether to use a pinch runner for the slow-moving Bream.
But after advancing to second base on a subsequent walk to Damon Berryhill, it turned out Bream was just fast enough.]
[Updated at 12:20 p.m.:
Joseph Schwerdt, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
There’s something about the spontaneity and unbridled joy of a broadcast homer calling a walk-off or historic moment. It’s Russ Hodges’ "The Giants win the pennant!" It’s Skip Caray’s "Braves win! Braves Win!" It’s Phil Rizzuto calling Maris’ 61st home run.
But a favorite?
The broadcaster is easy. It’s Jack Buck.
Maybe it’s Ozzie Smith’s winner off Tom Niedenfuer in the 1985 NLCS: "Go crazy, folks."
Or Kirby Puckett’s home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series: "And we’ll see you tomorrow night."
But it has to be Kirk Gibson’s one-legged wonder against Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the '88 Series:
"This is gonna be a home run. Unbelievable. A home run for Gibson. I don’t believe what I just saw.”
When you talk about great calls you’re talking about Jack Buck. As he would say: "That’s a winner."]
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Few World Series have been as dramatic as the one in 1991 between Atlanta and Minnesota, and Jack Buck was up for the drama. He hit the perfect tone to sign off on Minnesota's 11-inning victory in Game 6, which forced the historic Jack Morris-John Smoltz pitcher's duel in Game 7. The game-winner came on a home run by Kirby Puckett, setting off a wild scene in the Metrodome.
Here was Buck's call on Puckett's blast off Charlie Leibrandt: "Into deep left-center, for [Kevin] Mitchell ... and we'll see you tomorrow night!"
It said it all then, and still does.
Keith Groller, The Morning Call
Jack Buck’s most nationally known call was, of course, his “I don’t believe what I just saw” gem after Kirk Gibson’s one-legged blast in the 1988 World Series.
But for Cardinals fans such as me, the more popular one is the sheer joy Buck expressed in the 1985 NLCS when Ozzie Smith hit a ninth-inning game-ending home run for a Game 5 win. Smith had not hit a home run as a left-handed hitter in his major league career, so this one was a stunner. Buck was as surprised as anyone, yelling: “Smith corks one into right down the line! It may go! Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!”
The best calls are those from the hometown guys -- because of the emotion. And Michael Kay coming up with the “Mr. November” line on Yankees radio to describe Derek Jeter’s game-winner in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series at 12:03 a.m. on Nov. 1 also was a quick-thinking classic.
Photo: Kirk Gibson rounds the bases for the Dodgers in 1988. Credit: Los Angeles Times