25 Greatest Announcer Calls in Baseball History
The saying goes that 'an image is worth a thousand words.'
Baseball fans around the country have been blessed over the years with the ability to watch and listen to broadcasters who are able to paint a picture with their mouths and capture incredible moments in what seem to be snapshots frozen in time.
From legends of the profession to complete amateurs, iconic phrases and classic calls have littered the landscape for more than 100 years.
As we take a look at the 25 greatest calls in the history of the game, keep in mind that unless there was an audio or video clip of the call, it was ineligible to be included in this list.
25. Cal Ripken Jr. Passes the Iron Horse
Chris Berman thankfully spares us his 'Berman-isms' and calls Cal Ripken Jr. breaking what was thought to be an unbreakable record; Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak.
24. Bucky Dent Becomes Public Enemy No. 1 in Boston
Nobody expected Yankees SS Bucky Dent, owner of 22 home runs in over 2600 at-bats heading into this game, to flash his power against the Red Sox and Mike Torres in the biggest game of the year.
But that's exactly what Dent did, and Yankees announcer Bill White—who would later become the president of the National League—describes the scene at Fenway Park to a tee.
23. I'm a Psychic When I'm Not in the Booth
In the top of the seventh inning of a scoreless game between the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners, we join Twins broadcasters Dick Brenner and Bert Blyleven in the booth.
Brenner literally calls Cuddyer's shot, stunning Blyleven and those watching.
22. Roger Maris Hits Number 61
Baseball changed in 1961.
The American League expanded from eight teams to 10, eight games were added to the schedule, expanding from 154 to 162, and two teammates chased the ghost of Babe Ruth.
While Mickey Mantle's injuries forced him to miss time, knocking him out of the chase, it only served to place even more of the spotlight on his teammate, Roger Maris.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn had declared that should either player equal or break Ruth's single season record of 60 home runs in more than 154 games, their feat would have an asterisk next to it in the record books.
The media were incredibly slanted towards Mantle, and they took shots at Maris every chance they got.
Even with the deck seemingly stacked against him, Maris entered the final game of the season against the Boston Red Sox tied with the Babe, 60 home runs apiece.
In the first inning, Maris would hit a deep fly ball to left off Boston starter Tracy Dillard but was ultimately caught by Red Sox left fielder Carl Yastrzemski.
Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, a life-long Yankee, calls the action in the bottom of the fourth inning of a scoreless game with one away.
21. Sandy's Dandy
By the time he had turned 29, Sandy Koufax had 112 career victories, a Cy Young award, a MVP award and three no-hitters to his name.
Koufax took the mound against the Chicago Cubs, a team he had allowed 13 hits to over two complete game victories earlier in the season.
Holding a 1-0 lead entering the ninth inning, with Koufax having retired all 24 batters that he had faced, he toed the rubber needing three outs.
Vin Scully stays remarkably composed and classy calling the final three outs (skip ahead to 1:50 for the action to start).
20. Bill Murray Should Quit His Day Job
Bill Murray's pregame spot in the booth is too good to not be included—you've got to love his take on the Expos lineup.
Legendary Cub Ron Santo is in the booth trying to have a conversation about an email he's received when he's distracted by a heckler in the stands.
Santo makes sure to tell the world what he thinks of the heckler.
18. Clemente Does It
Pirates announcer Bob Prince lets the moment do the talking as Roberto Clemente doubles to record career hit number 3,000 against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 30, 1972.
This would be Clemente's final official at-bat, as he would die tragically in a plane crash two months later.
17. Stay Fair!
With Game 6 of the 1975 World Series tied at six in the bottom of the 12th inning, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk stepped to the plate against Cincinnati Reds reliever Pat Darcy.
Fisk drove the second pitch he'd see from Darcy deep, and Dick Stockton aptly called the action, capturing the emotion and excitement flowing through Fenway Park.
16. Pete Rose Passes Ty Cobb
Longtime Cincinnati Reds announcer Marty Brennaman calls the historic moment (starts around :29 seconds into the clip) when Pete Rose steps to the plate with Ty Cobb's all-time hit record hanging in the balance.
15. Picture Perfect
Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers remains one of the greatest moments in baseball history.
We've all seen the image of Yogi Berra jumping into Larsen's arms, but to see the original video with the immortal Vin Scully calling the final out is truly a thing of beauty.
14. Mike Schmidt Makes History
With the Phillies trailing 6-5 heading into the top of the ninth, Mike Schmidt sat with 499 career home runs.
Pirates reliever Don Robinson would record two outs, but load the bases in the process.
As Schmidt's bat makes contact with the ball, you can feel the emotion come out of Phillies' announcer Harry Kalas as he calls the historic moment—one that ultimately won the game for the Phillies.
13. It's What's for Dinner
By this point in the 2004 season, the Red Sox were in their usual battle with the New York Yankees for AL East supremacy while the Seattle Mariners found themselves 20 games below .500 and already out of the playoff race.
So when the bottom of Seattle's lineup came to the plate against Red Sox reliever Curtis Leskanic with the score tied at four in the bottom of the 11th inning, nobody expected what was about to come.
Leskanic allowed a single to C Miguel Olivo, walked 1B John Hansen and the best player on the Mariners, RF Ichiro Suzuki, would lay down a sacrifice bunt advancing the runners into scoring position.
Boston would intentionally walk CF Randy Winn to get to 2B Bret Boone, who as Mariners' announcer Dave Niehaus exhalts, comes through in the clutch.
12. Hank Aaron Passes Babe Ruth
Milo Hamilton knew that Hank Aaron's record breaking 715th career home run was coming, he just didn't know when. But he had time to prepare how he'd call it when it happened.
Instead, Hamilton called it as he saw it, and although you can hear how genuinely excited and happy for Aaron that he is, Hamilton manages to not go overboard and keeps it classy—fitting when you consider the subject matter, as Hank Aaron is one of the classiest players the game has ever seen.
11. You'll Need to Cancel Tomorrow Night's Plans
Down three games to two in the series, the Minnesota Twins found themselves tied with the Atlanta Braves at three apiece as Game 6 headed into the bottom of the 11th inning.
Veteran Charlie Leibrandt took the mound for the Braves and Kirby Puckett made his way into the batter's box. The sound that the fifth pitch of the at-bat made when it connected with Puckett's bat was a beautiful thing, unless you were a fan of the Braves.
Jack Buck keeps it simple, yet sweet, in calling the action. Twenty years later, his son, Joe Buck, would pay homage to his legendary father.
10. Magglio Ordonez...the Other Miggy in Detroit
Magglio Ordonez hit a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 4 of the 2006 ALDS against the Oakland A's to tie the score at three.
With two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth, Ordonez stepped to the plate again. Tigers' announcer Dan Dickerson calls it perfectly.
9. The Wizard Performs His Magic
With the series tied two games apiece and Game 5 tied at two, Ozzie Smith, the slick-fielding but light-hitting shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals
Ozzie Smith stepped to the plate to take on Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and did something he'd only done 13 times in his then eight-year career.
Jack Buck called the action and couldn't help but be joyous at the occasion.
8. Mark Buehrle Goes Yard
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle wasn't considered much of a hitting threat when he stepped to the plate against Braden Looper and the Milwaukee Brewers in the rubber game of the inter-league series between the two teams.
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the third inning, Buehrle made Looper expend some energy against him, working a two-two count on seven pitches. Looper's eighth pitch made it into the seats in right-center, with some urging by White Sox announcer Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson.
7. Worst. Baserunning. Ever.
In a game tied at two with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Giants' Andres Galarraga reached on an error. Manager Felipe Alou sent in Ruben Rivera to pinch run.
Marquis Grissom would hit a fly ball to deep right that the Diamondbacks David Dellucci misplayed and should have won the game for the Giants.
Instead, as Jon Miller aptly describes, Rivera embarked on something that ultimately cost him his career in the major leagues, as he'd appear in only one more game the following day before spending the rest of his playing days in the minor leagues and Mexico.
6. Joe Carter Makes It Two in a Row
In Game 6 of the 1992 World Series, Joe Carter stepped on first base after taking a throw from Blue Jays reliever Mike Timlin, recording the last out in the bottom of the 11th inning and securing the first World Series championship in Toronto Blue Jays history as they beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-3.
One year later, in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Carter found himself in position to make history once again.
Carter dug in against Phillies closer Mitch Williams with one out, Rickey Henderson on second base, Paul Molitor on first base and one out and the Blue Jays trailing 6-5.
Starting around the 1:45 mark in the video, Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek lets the fan in him take over, resulting in one of the iconic home run calls in history.
5. Ghosts of Shea Stadium
That's all the Boston Red Sox needed to put an end to 68 years of frustration and waiting.
Holding a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 10th inning, the Red Sox sent reliever Calvin Schiraldi back out to the mound for his third inning of work.
After getting Mets 2B Wally Backman and 1B Keith Hernandez to fly out, Schiraldi allowed a single to their catcher, Gary Carter. Mets manager Davey Johnson would send OF Kevin Mitchell in to pinch hit for the pitcher, Rick Aguilera, and Mitchell delivered with a line drive single of his own, giving the Mets runners on first and second.
Schiraldi allowed another single, this time to Mets 3B Ray Knight, scoring Carter and advancing Mitchell to third base.
Red Sox manager John McNamara had seen enough, and pulled Schiraldi in favor of Bob Stanley.
Stanley's eighth pitch to Mets CF Mookie Wilson was low and inside, getting past Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman and rolling to the backstop, allowing Mitchell to score the tying run.
Vin Scully tells us how the ninth pitch of the at-bat would go (skip ahead to the 1:50 mark for the call of the actual play).
4. The Catch
Game 1 of the 1954 World Series featured the Cleveland Indians, led by 3B Al Rosen and CF Larry Doby, at the Polo Grounds taking on Willie Mays and the New York Giants.
The Indians got ahead early against Giants starter Sal Maglie, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning, only to be answered in the bottom of the third when the Giants scored two off of Indians starter Bob Lemon.
Maglie took the mound in the top of the eighth inning with the game still tied at two. Doby would draw a walk, and Rosen would chase Maglie from the game with a single.
Don Liddle would replace Maglie for the Giants, and he toed the rubber against Indians 1B Vic Wertz.
Jack Brickhouse, who spent the majority of his career as the play-by-play voice for the Chicago Cubs, joined Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges in the booth for this game and takes it from here.
3. Kirk Gibson Hits a Limp-off Home Run
By the time the 1988 World Series came around, Kirk Gibson had stopped vomiting, but he could still barely walk. Yet there he was in the Dodgers dugout for Game 1.
Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda would call on Gibson in the bottom of the ninth inning as a pinch hitter, with a man on second and two outs.
Gibson, with injuries to both legs, hobbled his way to the plate to hit against Oakland's All-Star closer, Dennis Eckersley.
Calling the game is Jack Buck, who not only unleashes another legendary line, but captures the awe-inspiring moment for what it was.
2. Edgar Martinez Makes It Happen
With the series tied at two game apiece, the New York Yankees held a 5-4 lead over the Seattle Mariners heading into the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 5.
Yankees reliever Jack McDowell would give up consecutive singles to 2B Alex Cora and CF Ken Griffey Jr., setting the stage for DH Edgar Martinez to win the series for the Mariners.
Dave Niehaus runs the gamut of human emotions on this one—from shock and amazement to overjoyed, excited, and everything in between.
1. The Shot Heard Round the World
With 44 games left in the 1951 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers held a 13-and-a-half game lead on the New York Giants for the National League pennant.
Brooklyn would go 26-21 down the stretch while the Giants would put together a remarkable 36-6 run, leaving the teams tied with two games against each other left to play.
They would split the two game series, forcing a one game playoff to determine the winner of the National League, held at the Polo Grounds.
A pitching duel between the Don Newcombe of the Dodgers and Sal Maglie of the Giants ensued, and the teams headed into the top of the eighth inning tied at one.
Maglie would give up three runs in the top half of the inning to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead, and the Dodgers would fail to answer in the bottom of the inning.
After Giants reliever Larry Jansen worked a one-two-three inning in the top of the ninth, Newcombe took the mound to seal the deal for the Dodgers.
Consecutive singles by the Giants Alvin Dark and Don Mueller would put runners on the corners with nobody out. Giants 1B Whitey Lockman would line a shot into the gap between left and center, scoring Dark and advancing Mueller to third.
Dodgers manager Chuck Dressen would replace Newcombe with Ralph Branca, and the Giants Bobby Thomson stepped to the plate.
Giants announcer Russ Hodges takes over from there.