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The 32 best calls in sports history (and a Scully vs. Buck debate)

Oct 16, 2013, 4:17 PM EDT

This is about Vin Scully and Jack Buck, but I kind of got lost along the way. Hey, it happens. Three years ago, I posted (with a great deal of help from my editor Larry Burke) the 32 best calls in sports history. In going back to find it, I realized that those 32 calls were taken down at some point.

So, I reposted those calls. Then I get to Scully and Buck. I did include the links from the original story when they were not dead:

32. Verne Lundquist on Christian Laettner’s shot to beat Kentucky.

“There’s the pass to Laettner. Puts it up. Yes!”

31. Gus Johnson on Gonzaga’s win over Florida in the Sweet 16.

“It’s over! Gonzaga! The slipper still fits!”

30. Chris Cuthbert and Harry Neale on Tie Domi’s sucker-punch knockout of cheap shot artist Ulf Samuelson.

“You live by the sword, you’re apt to die by it.”

29. Bill White on Bucky “F—–“ Dent’s home run to beat the Red Sox in ’78.

“Yastrzemski will not get it … it’s a home run! A three-run home run for Bucky Dent.”

28. Mike Keith on Tennessee’s Music City Miracle.

“End zone! Touchdown Titans! There are … NO … FLAGS … ON the field. It’s a miracle!”

27. Jack Buck on the Kirby Puckett that forced Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

“We’ll see you tomorrow night!”

26. Joe Buck’s homage to Dad using David Ortiz’s post-midnight homer in the 2004 ALCS.

“Ortiz into right field, back is Sheffield, we’ll see you later tonight!”

25. Jon Miller on Ruben Rivera’s classic base-running error.

“The pitch, swing, and there’s a shot deep into right center, racing back Dellucci, still going back into Death Valley, it goes right over his glove, he missed it, but Ruben Rivera missed second base. Now he’s heading for third and they’re going to throw him out by plenty, but the throw to third is botched. Now he’s heading home, the loose ball in the infield, and he’s out by five feet at the plate. And that was the worst base-running in the history of the game. The game should be over, and Ruben Rivera just did the worst base-running you will ever see. Unbelievable. Ruben Rivera had gone around second base, and then for some reason seemed to assume that the ball was caught in the outfield. He got totally lost and confused out there, and started to go back to second base as Grissom was pulling in at second. Ruben Rivera was the only man in the ballpark, apparently, who did not know what just happened.”

24. Verne Ludquist on tight end Jackie Smith’s dropped pass in Super Bowl XIII.

“Dropped in the end zone, Jackie Smith all by himself. Bless his heart, he’s got to be the sickest man in America.”

23. Tom Cheek on Joe Carter’s home run that ended the 1993 World Series.

“Touch ‘em all, Joe. You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life.”

22. Marv Albert on Michael Jordan’s mesmerizing, hand-switching layup against Los Angeles in the 1991 NBA Finals.

“Oh! A spectacular move by Michael Jordan!”

21. Jack Buck on Ozzie Smith’s home run to beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS.

“Go crazy folks! Go crazy! It’s a home run!”

20. Milo Hamilton on Henry Aaron’s 715th home run, the one that passed Babe Ruth.

“Outta here! It’s gone! It’s 715! There’s a new home run champion of all time, and it’s Henry Aaron.”

19. Vin Scully on the ball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

“Little roller up along first … behind the bag … it gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!”

18. Dan Hicks on Jason Lezak’s ridiculous comeback to overtake world record holder Alain Bernard in final leg of 400-meter relay at 2008 Olympics.

“The United States trying to hang on to second, they should get the silver medal. … Now, though, Lezak is closing a little bit on Bernard. Can the veteran chase him down and pull off a shocker here?… Bernard is losing some ground! Here comes Lezak! Unbelievable at the end! He’s done it! The U.S. has done it!”

17. Scully on the last batter of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game.

“He is one out away from the promised land, and Harvey Kuenn is comin’ up. … So Harvey Kuenn is batting for Bob Hendley. The time on the scoreboard is 9:44. The date, September the ninth, 1965, and Koufax working on veteran Harvey Kuenn. Sandy into his windup and the pitch … a fastball for a strike. He has struck out, by the way, five consecutive batters, and that’s gone unnoticed.

“Sandy ready and the strike one pitch: very high. And he lost his hat. He really forced that one. That’s only the second time tonight where I have had the feeling that Sandy threw instead of pitched, trying to get that little extra, and that time he tried so hard his hat fell off. He took an extremely long stride to the plate, and Torborg had to go up to get it.

“One and one to Harvey Kuenn. Now he’s ready: fastball, high, ball two. You can’t blame a man for pushing just a little bit now. Sandy backs off, mops his forehead, runs his left index finger along his forehead, dries it off on his left pants leg. All the while, Kuenn’s just waiting. Now Sandy looks in. Into his windup and the 2-1 pitch to Kuenn: swung on and missed, strike two.

“It is 9:46 p.m. Two and two to Harvey Kuenn, one strike away. Sandy into his windup, here’s the pitch:

“Swung on and missed, a perfect game!

“On the scoreboard in right field it is 9:46 p.m. in the City of the Angels, Los Angeles, California. And a crowd of 29,139 just sitting in to see the only pitcher in baseball history to hurl four no-hit, no-run games. He has done it four straight years, and now he caps it: On his fourth no-hitter he made it a perfect game. And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with a flurry. He struck out the last six consecutive batters. So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record books, that ‘K’ stands out even more than the O-U-F-A-X.”

16. Howie Rose on the Stephane Matteau’s overtime goal that sent the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals.

“Matteau swoops in to intercept. Matteau behind the net, swings it in front. He scores! Matteau! Matteau! Stephane Matteau! The Rangers have one more hill to climb, baby, but it’s Mount Vancouver!”

15. Kenneth Wolstenholme on the end of the 1966 World Cup.

“Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over. It is now.”

14. Someone in the booth yelling during Billy Mills’ extraordinary comeback at 10,000 Meters at the 11964 Olympics. Some have said it was a fan yelling, or someone working for ABC in another role. There are those who say it was announcer Dick Bank.

“Look at Mills! Look at Mills!”

13. Bob Costas summing up Michael Jordan seconds after he hit the shot that beat Utah.

“That may have been — who knows what will unfold in the next several months — but that may have been the last shot Michael Jordan will ever take in the NBA. … If that’s the last image of Michael Jordan, how magnificent is it?”

12. Johnny Most on famous Boston Celtics steals — I count Havlicek and Bird as one entry.

“Havlicek steals it! … Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over! It’s all over!”

“Now there’s a steal by Bird. Underneath to DJ, who lays it in!”

11. Bill King’s remarkable soliloquy after Oakland’s Ken Stabler fumbled forward the Holy Roller. While the last line is goose bump popping, my favorite part has always been the two words before: “He does!”

“The ball flipped forward is loose! A wild scramble, two seconds on the clock. … Casper grabbing the ball … it is ruled a fumble … Casper has recovered in the end zone! The Oakland Raiders have scored on the most zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a play! Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it’s real. They said yes, get your big butt out of here! He does! There’s nothing real in the world anymore!”

10. Three awesome college football calls — I realize that’s cheating, choosing three, but that’s what I did:

Larry Munson on the chair-crunching Georgia play that beat Florida

“Got a block behind him. Gonna throw on the run. Complete to the 25. To the 30. Lindsey Scott! Thirty-five, forty. Lindsey Scott! Forty-five, forty! Run Lindsey! Twenty-five, twenty, fifteen, ten, five! Lindsey Scott! Lindsey Scott! Lindsey Scott! [crowd noise] Well, I can’t believe it, 92 yards, and Lindsey really got in a foot race. I broke my chair. I came right through a chair. A metal steel chair with about a five-inch cushion. I broke it. The booth came apart. The stadium, well, the stadium fell down.”

Lyell Bremser on Johnny Rodger’s punt return of the century

“He’s all the way home! Holy Moly, man, woman and child did that put them in the aisles! Johnny the Jet Rodgers just tore ‘em loose from their shoes!”

Dan Davis on Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary that beat Miami

 

“Looks, uncorks a deep one toward the end zone, Phelan is down there (Oh he got it!) did he get it (he got it!) Yes! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown Boston College! He did it! He did it! Flutie did it!”

9. Vin Scully on The Catch.

“Montana … looking … looking … throwing in the end zone … Clark caught it! Dwight Clark! [Crowd noise ... 29 seconds] It’s a madhouse at Candlestick.

8. Verne Lundquist on Tiger Woods’ chip on No. 16 at the Masters.

“Oh, wow! In your life, have you seen anything like that?”

7. Victor Hugo Morales on Diego Maradona’s man-against-the-world gold in the 1986 World Cup.

First in Spanish: “Siempre Maradona. Genio! Genio! Genio! Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta … GOOOOOOOOAL! GOOOOOOAL! … Quiero llorar! … Dios Santo! … Viva el Futbol! … Golaaaaazoooo! Diegoooool! Maradona! Es para llorar, perdoneme. Maradona en recorrida memorable en la jugada de todos los tiempos. … Barrilete cosmico! … De que planeta viniste? … para dejar en el camino a tanto ingles. … Para que el pais sea un puno apretado gritando por Argentina … Argentina dos, Inglaterra cero … Diegol! Diegol! Diego Amando Maradona! … Gracias, dios por el futbol, por Maradona, por estas lagrimas, por este Argentina dos, Inglaterra cero.”

And translated: “Always Maradona. Genius! Genius! Genius! Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta … GOOOOOOOOAL! GOOOOOOAL! … I mourn. … Holy God… Viva football. … Golaaaaazoooo! Diegoooool! Maradona! It is to mourn, forgive me. Maradona memorably traveled on the play of all time. Cosmic Kite. … Which planet are you from? … To leave both on the road to English. … For the country is a closed fist screaming for Argentina. … Argentina two, England zero. … Diegol! Diegol! Diego Armando Maradona! … Thank God for soccer, for Maradona, for these tears, for Argentina two, England zero.”

6. Chic Anderson on Secretariat at the Belmont.

“Secretariat is widening now! He is moving like a tremendous machine! Secretariat by 12! Secretariat by 14 lengths on the turn!”

5. Vin Scully and Jack Buck on Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run.

Buck: “Gibson swings. And a fly ball deep to right! This is gonna be a home run! Unbelievable! A home run for Gibson! And the Dodgers have won the game 5-4! I don’t believe what I just saw! I don’t believe what I just saw!”

Scully: “High fly ball into right field. She is… gone. [Crowd noise] In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

4. Joe Starkey on The Play — Stanford v. Cal.

“The ball is still loose as they get it to Rodgers! They get it back now to the 30, they’re down to the 20…. Oh, the band is out on the field! He’s gonna go into the end zone! He’s gone into the end zone!! … And the Bears, the Bears have won! The Bears have won! Oh, my God! The most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heart-rending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football!”

3. Howard Cosell calling George Foreman’s first knockdown of Joe Frazier.

“Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”

2. Russ Hodges on the Giants, er, winning the pennant.

“Here’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! [crowd noise] Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! [WAHOO! heard in background again] The Giants win the pennant, and they’re goin’ crazy! They’re goin’ crazy! Heeeey-oh!”

1. Al Michaels. 1980. U.S. Olympic Hockey team.

“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

* * *

As you can see, even then I ranked the Kirk Gibson home runs calls of Vin Scully and Jack Buck as a tie. That is the point of all this. Tuesday was the 25th anniversary of the Gibson home run that is No. 5 on the list. It is the only great play in American sports history I can think of that has TWO iconic calls. Which one was better? It was much easier for me three years go to rank them as a tie and not get into it. But, now, 25-year anniversary …

I first heard the home run on the radio. That meant Jack Buck. It was a Saturday night — should give you a small idea of how much sports has changed that they started the World Series on a Saturday night — and I was driving home from the Duke-Clemson game at Memorial Stadium. Hey, that was actually a good Duke team coached by the ol’ Ball Coach Steve Spurrier. And, yeah, Clemson won 49-17.

Anyway, I was driving up I-85, and I was literally driving by the giant water tower shaped like a peach right outside of Gaffney, when Gibson hit the home run and Buck screamed “I don’t believe what I just saw!” It was so amazing I remember pulling over to the side of the road and getting out of the car.

I honestly cannot remember when I first heard Scully’s legendary, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” But I remember being awed by it from the start. So perfect.

Now, 25 years later, it’s so clear what makes each of those calls such genius. I asked people on Twitter which call they liked better, which is a totally unfair question. And it did not surprise me that the vote went almost right down the middle. It did surprise me, though, how PASSIONATE people were about their choices. I figured on getting a lot of, “They’re both great calls but I like this one better.” Intead, it was more like one tweet would say “Scully and it’s not close,” and the next would be, “I’m a Scully fan, but Buck’s call was way better.” It did not seem that many people liked BOTH calls at all, much less like them equally.

And maybe that makes sense. The calls really are different. They are not just different words and different decibel levels and different men announcing. They seem to reach for different parts of us as sports fans.

Buck’s call was passion. Jack Buck was as good as anyone has ever been at grabbing your heart, pulling it out of your chest, letting it beat in the sunshine. “Go crazy folks” is not a particularly expressive or vivid phrase, but when Ozzie Smith hits a left-handed home run to win a playoff game — he hit FIVE left-handed home runs in his entire big league career — it is the roar for that moment as a Cardinals fan. The call that would clash against the feelings of a Dodgers’ fan and would not mean much to a neutral observer. But Buck was talking to Cardinals fans. “Go crazy folks,” was like the soundtrack to their wild emotions.

That was Jack Buck. His calls came directly from his heart, unfiltered, unadorned. And his was a fan’s heart. When he saw Gibson’s amazing home run, there were no words for it, no words he could think of at the time. He could not believe it. He literally could not believe it. He had been watching baseball for a half century or more, and that was unlike anything — a wounded man who could barely walk hitting the home run off the great Dennis Eckersley, He could not believe what he just saw. And so he said, “I don’t believe what I just saw.”

Scully’s call was poetry. Vin’s love of baseball is evident in every call he makes, but it’s not the love of a fan. He loves baseball as an artist, loves it the way Da Vinci loved Mona Lisa — he wants to bring out every nuance, every subtlety, every sound and smell and sliver of sunlight. Many of us have written about Scully’s love of crowd noise — after the Dwight Clark catch that sent San Francisco to its first Super Bowl, he did not say a word for 29 seconds, letting the crowd noise tell the story. He did the same after Henry Aaron’s 715th home run. “There is nothing I could say,” he explained, “that could tell the story better.”

Think about that for a minute. Scully is an announcer. He has made his living speaking words to describe action. And, in the biggest moment, he trusts that the sound of 50,000 other people can tell it better than he can.

And so what makes Scully’s call art is how he quickly describes the call (“She is gone!”) and then lets the crowd noise take over and then, when the cheers have soaked through and are exhausted, he came in with the most poetic phrase, one he said was given to him like a gift from God: “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

Comparing the two calls is like comparing a good beer when you’re sweating and hot with the amazing song “What’s Going On,” coming on the radio. It’s like comparing the feeling of making a hole-in-one with the feeling of your child bringing home a good report card. It’s like comparing the most amazing chocolate ice cream with getting fooled by the ending to “The Sixth Sense.” I mean, it’s all absolutely fantastic, and there’s no real common ground there. I heard Buck’s call first, so it is the call that rings through me when I see that home run. But I have watched Scully’s call probably 50 times since it happened, and I think it’s the most beautiful arrangement of words ever built around a great baseball play.

So, I’m still copping out, right

Fine: I think Buck’s call is more memorable. I think Scully’s call was better.

  1. flyinhighwithvick - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Harry Kalas: “Swing and a miss….struck him out! And the Philadelphia Phillies are 2008…World Champions of Basebaaaaaaaallllll”

    Just for Craig!

  2. sdelmonte - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Boy, Verne Lundquist is there a lot. A very underrated play by play man, in my book.

    And how many of us remember that Vin did that other sport, too?

    My heart says Buck, my head says Scully, and I am grateful we have both instead, say, John Sterling or Hawk Harrelson.

  3. davidpom50 - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    I think Vin’s call of the end of Koufax’s perfect game is criminally underrated here. Easy #1 in my book.

    • normcash - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      One quibble with the transcript of Scully’s call of the Koufax perfect game: he doesn’t say
      he “…did with a flurry”. He says he “…did it with a flourish.”

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:46 PM

        Thank you normcash!! I’ve been wondering if I was the only one with good hearing. Every transcript has flurry, but I suspect one person got it wrong and everyone else copied it. It sounds like it could possibly be flurry, but it sounds much more like flourish to me, and that would be more Vinny-ish.

  4. cktai - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I’m missing:

    “Ik heb opeens zo’n gevoel dat we in de halve finale gaan komen… Met balbezit voor Frank de Boer, Frank de Boer speelt de bal, heel goed, naar Dennis Bergkamp. Dennis Bergkamp… Dennis Bergkamp neemt de bal aan – DENNIS BERGKAMP, DENNIS BERGKAMP, DENNIS BERGKAMP, DENNIS BERGKAMP, DENNIS BERGKAMP, OOOOOH Frank de Boer speelt de bal naar Dennis Bergkamp, die neemt de bal feilloos aan, en die schiet de bal erin, we spelen nog officieel twintig seconden, Dennis Bergkaaaamp – twee een.”

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      That first touch, still amazing after all these years!

  5. proudlycanadian - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    I am rather partial to the Joe Carter and Bucky Dent home run calls.

  6. nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    I was raised on Vinny. I guess Buck was a taste I just never acquired. But also criminally missing (certainly ahead of the soccer guy not knowing if the game was over) is the great Dan Kelly:
    …Bobby Orr, behind the net to Sanderson, to ORR (crowd roar) BOBBY ORR, SCORES, AND THE BOSTON BRUINS HAVE WON THE STANLEY CUP!

  7. bennoj - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    I generally like Joe, but this is pure BS. Just pull the 1966 World Cup and Maradona calls and retitle it “The 30 Best Calls In American Sports History”. I find it hard to believe in the past 60-odd years of televised sports 30 of the best 32 calls were on American television in sports familiar to mainstream American audiences.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Indeed, and for comic relief, we have the great Joe Bowen, who, given that he was in shock, can be forgiven for getting the math wrong. The shot was “only” about 177 feet (200-11-11-1=177). He also grossly underestimated the staying power of the video. Holy mackinaw indeed.

    • squakdawg - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      you must be looking for a different channel…this one is about BASEBALL

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:39 PM

        Indeed, hence the soccer, football, other hockey, horse racing, track & field, basketball and golf videos. You seem to be using a different filter than I have.

  8. sleepyirv - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    I don’t feel the need to pick between the two best baseball calls of the past 50 years. Just absolutely amazing perfect lines.

  9. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    This definitely isn’t the best, but you don’t get a better takedown considering the sides involved

    http://deadspin.com/the-usmnt-saves-mexico-and-mexico-is-eternally-gratefu-1446262947

    For those non-soccer fans here, a tl;dr version. Mexico needed Panama to lose to keep Mexico’s World Cup hopes alive. The US, already having qualified, had nothing to play for (they aren’t getting a seed). The US ends up scoring two late goals, helping Mexico’s case. The US and Mexico make the Sox and Yanks look like best friends (one note, US fans get bags of urine and feces thrown at them at the Azteca).

    This clip is the Mexican announcers THANKING the US players, at the same time telling the Mexican players that they don’t deserve to wear the uniform. I speak exactly zero spanish, but here’s a translation:

    “GOOOOAAAAAAL The US of A PUTS us in the playoffs!!!!!” USA!
    “It is because of the USA that we are being placed in the playoff …BECAUSE OF THEM , NOT DUE TO YOU..NOT ANY OF YOU in the green shirts ….IT WAS THEM!!.NOT YOU!..THEY DID IT!!!!!NOT YOU! remember this forever….. KEEP THIS CLEARLY IN MIND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! You do NOTHING for the shirt, you do NOT put the effort, you have NOTplaced us in the playoffs , you HAVE NOT placed us in the WORLD CUP ..YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KEPT US ALIVE….IT WAS ESTADOS UNIDOS, NOT YOU.! .NOT YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE/CONCEIT…..NOT YOU AND YOUR INFAMY….NOT YOU AND YOUR MORONS/PUNKS….
    ….
    “IT IS A FAILURE…..and UNDESERVED -to go through to the playoff- WE HAD NO ARGUMENTS to earn the playoffs, THE USA, WITH SUBS , WITH MANY SUBS as the visiting team shows us once again what the USA is all about ….how to play the game with dignity, how to approach the sport..MExico is a horror, just terrible….A FAILURE….
    ……
    THE USA HAS SURPASSED US ..They are better than Mexico in SOCCER ….THEY EVEN HAVE THE LUXURY OF PLAYING THEIR SUBS and KEEPING US LIVE…. I hope our coach wears the pants and resigns..He has failed as coach..

  10. jtpercell - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    How could you leave this out?

    Some content was stripped by our security filters, but it should be possible for one of your Editors to embed the content for you.

  11. pastabelly - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Way too much love for Verne Lundquist here. Most famous calls are Michaels Miracle and Down Goes Frazier. Scully is unmatched.

  12. cheeks9441 - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I guess I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think many of these are “great calls.” I think they’re mostly great moments and the calls that happened to accompany them. Shouting “YES!” or “THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!” is not brilliance in my book. But that’s OK, I still enjoyed the list.

  13. fissels - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Thanks for providing those! All great except for Joe Buck, I usually hit the mute button when he’s on

  14. makeham98 - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    I prefer the Vin Scully call of Gibson’s home run. Vin talks about what happened, Jack Buck goes first person. I don’t care what you feel, to be honest. I care about what happened. Scully’s understated call is better.

  15. albertmn - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Some great calls, and Jack Buck and Scully are both great. For a Twins fan, nothing beats, “and, we’ll see you tomorrow night!”. Unfortunately, Jack Buck begat Joe Buck, and Joe is a pompous a$$.

  16. moonlandingwasfaked - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    I thought Scully had the better call, but Buck’s was really great as well.

    I know Formula 1 racing gets no love here in the States, but my personal favorite call is Murray Walker on the final laps of the 1979 French Grand Prix and the incredible battle for 2nd place between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux.

  17. cur68 - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    My family had just arrived in Canada the year before in 1972, just before the first snow of the season. What a shock THAT was . Anyhow, we’d been given a 2nd hand black & white TV and the one thing we all liked to watch on it was horse racing. Back home, my dad had been responsible for a large number of stock and racing horses and my mother was from a farm: horses were what they cared about together (that, caring for their boys, working constantly, and saving every penny they earned).

    The 1973 Belmont was the first big race we all watched on TV. And the horse we saw was this huge stallion: Secretariat. #2 with white blinders, he was ridden that day (as he had been in the other two legs of the triple crown) by Ron Turcotte. I recall my dad saying that he wished he could see the horse up close, in colour: we had to be told Big Red was a chestnut, since you couldn’t tell on our B&W TV. Still, even without being able to see the horse up close and in person Dad was adamant that he was easily the best horse in the group: calm, hugely muscled, attentive to his jockey. Like a world class prize fighter who knew he was going to win.

    Mom was more prosaic: she looked over all the other horses before rendering her opinion. She proclaimed them the sorriest group of nags she’d ever laid eyes on and declared that the Big Fella had it in the bag. He was racing future glue.

    For us, the race was a foregone conclusion: Big Red won and we saw it as Chic Anderson called it.

    It is my first clear memory of Canada. I was 5 years old and I’ve never forgotten that call. The rest of them? Well, maybe they are good. Great even. But none of them stood out like the call of that race.

  18. misterj167 - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:30 PM

  19. upperdecker19 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    I’m partial to Vin (LA area here). If you haven’t heard the entire 9th inning of that call, it’s GOLD. From Gibson peeking out the tunnel. To Gibson sitting on the bench. To horrible Mike Davis somehow drawing a walk. To Gibson barely being able to walk up the dugout steps. And Vin describing it. Building the suspense as only he can. All building up to “the impossible”.

    I’ve never heard Buck’s entire call of the sequence. So a tad unfair to discount his call. But he seemed more like a fan in the big moment. Not my preference personally. But don’t have an issue w/ anyone who likes it better. But watch the entire inning sometime. It’s perfection from Vinny.

  20. mgflolox - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    I’ve always loved Al Michaels call after Dave Henderson’s homer off Donnie Moore in game 5 of the 1986 ALCS – “You’re looking at one for the ages here.” Great game accompanied by a call from a man who knew he was watching one of the best baseball games ever played.

  21. Ryan Lansing - Oct 17, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    I wanted to comment on the actual content of the article, but instead I’ll give my imaginary call of my attempt to comment on it:

    “It’s nearly 3:30AM. Ryan, a regular guy in small town America, using only a relatively new, relatively well-maintained laptop at standard small-town midwestern cable internet speed, is about to attempt to comment on an article on a major sports website. Standing in his way: 27 embedded youtube videos. Countless ads which he’ll never notice, much less click on, but they’re using 99% of his bandwidth. 19 different Flash things, despite the fact that the three most popular browsers all hate running Flash. Something from polldaddy, it’s now been taking almost four minutes to transfer data… looks like it’s loading… Ryan is quickly scrolling through the article, looking for the poll… he doesn’t see it. Is it there? No… no, there’s nothing visible on the page from polldaddy. A remarkable defensive strategy. OK, he’s scrolled back to the top and is reading the article now. As usual, Joe Posnanski has Ryan’s mental juices flowing. He’s more than intrigued. He’s hanging on every sentence. You can almost see him mentally composing his comment. And… he’s finished reading the article! Looks like he’s going to comment! Wait a minute… It says 26 comments, but only the first two have loaded. He’s trying to scroll farther… and yes, that’s all he’ll get here. Oh! Going for the refresh button! A bold move, clearly carries a lot of risk, but he has to be asking himself: what do I have to lose? Here we are, on the edge of our seats, waiting for fucking polldaddy to once again transfer data for its invisible fucking poll… and… the rest of the comments are loading! He’s logged in! He’s typing! You have to ask yourself, sports fans, why he would take all this time, and deal with all this pointless frustration, to post such an inane comment that no one will ever read? And when will web designers create sites that actually work for normal fucking people using normal fucking computers on normal fucking wi-fi speeds?”

  22. thedoubleentandres - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    I know its more sports entertainment than proper sports but JRs call when Mankind got thrown from the top of the Hell in a Cell has got to be up there. Even as a 27 year old who has abslutely no interest in Wrasslin anymore I still get crazy goosebumps when I hear it
    “As Gawwwd as my whhhitnessss….he has been broken in half!!!!!”

  23. chumthumper - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    What about Harry Doyle when Cleveland won the pennant? Oh, wait…never mind.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      No one’s listening, to hell with them!

  24. birdsonbat - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Both incredible calls but I have to go with Buck. It’s amazing at how attached we get to our announcers, isnt it? Nothing more nostalgic for me than hearing old games on KMOX and hearing Jack’s voice. I instantly think of being outside on a swelting St. Louis July afternoon…smelling a freshly lit BBQ pit. I’m sure people from LA have the same feelings for Vin.

  25. wtfruthinkn - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Scully wins every time. He’s the best ever, hands down. He was even the best when he used to do NFL games. Nobody touches him, not even Buck. It doesn’t seem like the younger Dodger fans truly appreciate this cultural treasure. Once he’s gone, just like Chick Hearn, who’s gonna fill those shoes? Steiner & Monday? Please…

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