John Sterling's home run calls have become a polarizing topic among Yankees fans.
Whether you love Sterling or hate him, there's no contesting the man's ability to deliver a big call in the big moment, as well as a number of goofy comments throughout the course of the broadcast...
The WCBS play-by-play man's popularity has grown so much over the years that one of the first thoughts among Pinstripe faithful after acquiring a new player is "What will Sterling say when he hits a home run?"
That debate raged on this past winter when the Yankees acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers in a three-team deal. After getting mixed reviews on his latest Yankee-centric home run call, I decided to compile Sterling's 10 best player-specific home run calls of all time. If you disagree, comment and tell me how you would've ranked them!
Special thanks to Hart at http://johnsterling.blogspot.com for the videos.
First, let's take a moment to recognize for some honorable mentions. These are the calls that just missed the top 10:
11: Derek Jeter. John Sterling never misses an opportunity to point out the nature of Derek's "Jeterian" swing any time the ball is hit to right field. He also enjoys to exclaim "El Capitaine!" whenever Jeter goes deep. Any Derek Jeter fan enjoys hearing that as much as they love seeing him trot around the bases.
12: Curtis Granderson. After coming under fire for his call on Granderson's first homer as a Yankee, Sterling immediately saved one of his worst calls in history by adding something on to the end. Take a listen:
13: David Justice. Sterling decided to omit Halle Berry from his call for the old Yankees' outfielder in 2000, coming up with "Justice is served!"
14: Bobby Abreu. Abreu's Venezuelan descent had a hand in what Sterling would decide on for his home run call. Sterling would proclaim "El Comedulce! Bobby Abreu is as sweet as candy!" 43 times over his two and a half seasons in pinstripes.
"Jorgy juiced one!"
Jorge Posada, the Yankees' everyday catcher since 1998, was bestowed the honor of being the first player to have a home run called by John Sterling in the new Yankee Stadium by blasting a 5th inning solo home run to the new Monument Park in centerfield.
"The Melk Man delivers!"
"And that's just the Melky Way!"
Melky Cabrera was one of the few privileged Yankees to have more than one personalized call from Sterling. Yankees fans got to hear them both after the flamboyant Yankees outfielder ended two games with walk-off hits in 2009: a 14th inning walk-off home run to right field on April 22 against the Oakland A's, and a line drive to left off Joe Nathan to defeat the Minnesota Twins on May 15.
Let's jump in the Way Back machine for a minute and head to the year 1998. The Yankees' magical regular season dominance was topped off in September by a rookie who took New York by storm.
"Shane Spencer, the home run dispenser" knocked out 10 home runs in just 27 games in the final month of the season. Spencer managed to make the Yankees' postseason roster, and hit two home runs in the team's ALDS sweep of the Texas Rangers en route to a World Series championship, the 24th in franchise history.
"He is the Bam-Tino!"
The man who had the unfortunate job of following the most beloved Yankees' first baseman since Lou Gehrig endeared himself to the Bronx with his calm demeanor and sweet left-handed swing. Constantino Martinez was the pillar of consistency in his seven years with the Yankees, averaging just over 27 Sterling calls per year.
"It's a home run from Robby Cano! Don'tcha know!"
The Yankees' second baseman, who replaced Tony Womack in April of 2005, is often times the most overlooked player in the Yankees' potent lineup. Cano, who would be a star on nearly any other team, is a career .300 hitter, and left the park 25 times in 2009.
Sterling's call for Cano has become one his most popular personalized calls, even making it's way into video games, as Matt Vasgersian uses it in MLB 10: The Show.
"It's a thrilla by Godzilla! The Sayonara Kid does it again!"
Hideki Matsui etched his name into Yankees' lore forever with a memorable performance in game six of the 2009 World Series. Nicknamed "Godzilla" in Japan, Matsui had a number of monster years in his time in the Bronx.
Sterling decided to ignore the name given to Matsui by his fellow countrymen and gave the Japanese slugger another nickname, "The Sayonara Kid."
"Mark sends a Teix message! You're on the Mark, Teixeira!"
When the Yankees stole Mark Teixeira away from the Red Sox seemingly in the middle of the night in December of 2008, the Yanks figured they were getting a player who would surely put them head and shoulders above the rest in the AL East.
But on August 9, 2009, Teixeira solidified that belief. With the Yankees and Red Sox tied at 2 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Teixeira faced Daniel Bard after the Boston reliever allowed a game-tying home run to Johnny Damon.
Mr. Sterling, take it away...
The man who replaced Tino Martinez as the Yankees' first baseman also inherited part of his nickname, thanks to Sterling. Sterling took Tino's "Bam-Tino" and made it into the "Giambino."
Late in his Yankee career, Giambi garnered more attention for his mustache than his bat, but he was always a home run threat in the middle of the Yanks' lineup.
"Bernie goes boom! Bern baby, Bern!"
John Sterling dipped into his iTunes library to come up with part of his home run call for Bernie Williams. After proclaiming "Bernie goes BOOM!" Sterling would sing the famous 2001 song "Burn Baby Burn" by Ash.
The song became synonymous with Williams, and often plays during montages of Bernie's time in pinstripes at Yankee Stadium.
"It's an A-bomb from A-Rod! Alexander the Great conquers again!"
Of course, the most famous of all John Sterling's home run cries is his call for an Alex Rodriguez home run. John's longest "Thuuu Yankees win!" warble came after Rodriguez's epic two-run homer in the bottom of the 15th to beat the Red Sox.
It's safe to say calling home runs off the bat of A-Rod is Sterling's favorite. In fact, he likes it so much that he sometimes confuses other Yankees for Alex: