MLB Power Rankings: The 25 Greatest Home Run Catch Phrases of All Time
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Ever since the great Babe Ruth glorified the act of hitting a home run, play-by-play announcers on both radio and television have looked for eloquent ways to aptly describe a ball that is about to fly out of the park.
While the phrase “chicks dig the long ball” came into vogue, it was even more so for the men behind the microphone describing the action—many viewed their home run calls as a way to distinguish themselves in their craft.
There have been a number of great home runs calls in MLB history—Russ Hodges calling the “shot heard ‘round the world,” Bobby Thomson’s game-winning home run in 1951 to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants or Milo Hamilton’s call of Hank Aaron’s record 715th home run in 1974.
However, while these particular calls were legendary, home run catch phrases help many fans by which to remember broadcasters.
Here is Bleacher Report’s ranking of the 25 greatest home run catch phrases of all time.
*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes courtesy of BaseballAlmanac.com.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.
25. Keith Olbermann: ESPN SportsCenter
Before talkshow host Keith Olbermann became famous as the popular host of MSNBC’s Countdown, he had already become well known to sports fans as a lead anchor for the ESPN signature show SportsCenter. Often appearing with colleague Dan Patrick for the 11:00 p.m. broadcast, the two became one of the most popular sports anchor tandems in cable history.
Olbermann had quite a few different catch phrases for many different feats in a variety of different sports, but his home run catch phrase was without a doubt one of his more famous ones.
Listen to an audio clip here.
24. Chris Berman: ESPN SportsCenter
ESPN anchor Chris Berman has been with the sports cable network since a month after its inception in 1979, joining colleague Bob Ley as the longest-tenured employees. Through the years, Berman has worn many hats for the cable sports network, including as the long-time host of Sunday NFL Countdown.
Berman also became famous for his famous nicknames of players, such as former MLB player Oddibe “Young Again” McDowell, and also for a number of catch phrases, including his signature home run call, “Back, back, back, back…gone!” Berman partially borrowed this from Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber.
23. Michael Kay: New York Yankees
New York Yankees television play-by-play man Michael Kay honed his craft working alongside John Sterling on radio broadcasts for almost a decade before being named the television voice of the Yankees in 2002.
Kay learned quickly from Sterling, developing his own catch phrases along the way, his most famous being his home run call: "Going back, at the track, at the wall…SEE YA!”
22. Rosey Roswell: Pittsburgh Pirates
Another broadcaster on this list, Bob Prince, credits his predecessor, Rosey Roswell, for being his mentor and teaching him the intricacies of baseball play-by-play. However, no one in baseball could recreate Roswell’s unabashed style of calling a game.
Roswell referred to any long fly ball as a “doozie marooney,” and his most famous home run catch phrase was, "Open the window Aunt Minnie, here it comes!"
21. Bob Uecker: Milwaukee Brewers
While many people associate Bob Uecker with the role of Harry Doyle in the movie series Major League, old Miller Lite commercials and his television series Mr. Belvedere, Uecker has also been a long-time radio voice of the Milwaukee Brewers, and was honored in 2003 by the baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award for his contributions to baseball as a broadcaster.
Uecker has been immortalized with his many calls as the character Harry Doyle, but in his real-life role as radio voice of the Brewers, Uecker is commonly known for his home run catch phrase, “Get up, get outta here, gone for (player name)!”
20. Jack Brickhouse: Chicago Cubs
While many fans associate Harry Caray with the Chicago Cubs, an “older” generation of fans remembers the great Jack Brickhouse, who was the play-by-play man for the “lovable losers” from 1948-1981. Brickhouse received the Ford C. Frick Award from the baseball Hall of Fame for his longtime contributions to baseball.
North Side fans still remember fondly Brickhouse’s famous home run catch phrase of “Hey, hey!” after each Cubs players’ home runs.
19. Lon Simmons: San Francisco Giants
Play-by-play man Lon Simmons broadcast San Francisco Giants games alongside Russ Hodges for many years, and was also the play-by-play man for the San Francisco 49ers for almost a quarter-century as well.
Simmons became famous for his signature home run catch phrase, “Tell it goodbye,” as well as many great calls in baseball and football over his long career.
Here is Simmons' catch phrase here.
18. Dave Van Horne: Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins
The great Dave Van Horne, this year’s winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, worked for the Montreal Expos for 32 seasons before moving to the Florida Marlins radio booth in 2000.
Van Horne called the perfect game for Dennis Martinez in 1991; however, Horne is most remembered for his signature home run catch phrase "Up, up and away!"
17. Jon Miller: San Francisco Giants
In 2010, radio and television play-by-play announcer Jon Miller was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for his longtime contributions to baseball. Currently in his 15th year with the Giants, Miller has also worked with the Oakland A’s, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, as well as calling games for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball for 20 years with analyst Joe Morgan.
Miller has actually become famous for home runs hit by Latin ballplayers, calling out his signature home run catch phrase, “Adios, pelota!”
16. Rodger Brulotte: Montreal Expos
For baseball fans north of the border, they well remember the dulcet tones of Montreal Expos radio play-by-play man Rodger Brulotte, who broadcast Expos games for decades.
Brulotte had an animated style, and made famous the catchphrase "Bonsoir, elle est partie!" French for "So long, she's gone!"
15. Vin Scully: Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
For 62 seasons now, celebrated play-by-play announcer Vin Scully has been calling games for the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then moving with the team to Los Angeles in 1958. Scully has become one of the most honored broadcasters in history, with numerous awards to his credit.
While Scully didn’t have what would be considered a great home run catch phrase, he preferred simplicity, simply uttering the words “Forget it” when referring to a prodigious home run blast.
14. Greg Schulte: Arizona Diamondbacks
Ever since the Arizona Diamondbacks began play in the 1998 season, they have only known one radio voice—Greg Schulte. For the past 14 seasons, Schulte has eloquently called games for the D-Backs with a style that represents both an old-school and a more modern approach to keep younger fans interested.
Schulte is most known for his signature home run catch phrase, "Long drive, way back, warning track wall, you can touch em' all (player name)."
13. Chuck Thompson: Baltimore Orioles
For many years, Chuck Thompson was the voice of Baltimore Orioles baseball, and for over 25 years, Orioles fans would tune in to the radio and listen to Thompson’s descriptive and unique style.
Thompson was well known for uttering the phrase, “Ain’t the beer cold,” whenever the Orioles were on a roll or when they had just won a game. Thompson also became known for uttering the phrase, “Go to war, Miss Agnes,” after a home run had been hit.
Thompson was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award for his contributions to baseball by the Hall of Fame in 1993.
12. Russ Hodges: New York/San Francisco Giants
From 1949 to 1970, New York/San Francisco Giants play-by-play announcer Russ Hodges was the voice of the Giants on two coasts, and his famous call of the “shot heard ‘round the world” by Bobby Thomson to win the 1951 pennant is one of the recognized and played broadcasts in sports history.
Hodges was also famous for his home run catch phrase "Bye-bye baby," which was used as the title of the song used by the Giants flagship station KSFO to introduce each Giants broadcast.
11. Bob Prince: Pittsburgh Pirates
From 1948 to 1975, Pittsburgh Pirates play-by-play man Bob Prince originated literally dozens of catch phrases, such as a “tweener,” a ball hit between the outfielders that’s just out of reach of both; “a dying quail,” referring to a bloop hit; and a “radio ball,” referring to a fastball thrown so hard it could be “heard but not seen.”
However, Prince’s most famous catch phrase was his home run call, “You can kiss it good-bye,” which can be heard on an audio link here.
10. Jerry Coleman: San Diego Padres
When broadcaster Jerry Coleman took over as the voice of the San Diego Padres in 1972, he had already developed an excellent reputation as a play-by-play man, calling radio games for the New York Yankees for seven years.
Coleman no longer calls games, but still contributes as an analyst for select Padres home games. At 86 years of age, Coleman is the oldest announcer in MLB.
Coleman’s signature home run phrase was also used at times for other calls as well, but “Oh, Doctor!” is most remembered by Padres fans after a long drive over the fence.
9. Ken Coleman: Boston Red Sox
While longtime baseball play-by-play man Ken Coleman may be most known as the voice of the Boston Red Sox from 1966-1974 and again from 1979-1989, he was one of the more versatile announcers of his time, calling NFL games for the Cleveland Browns from 1952-1965, covering the entire career of Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.
Many former announcers, including Howard Cosell, credit Coleman as his mentor, with Cosell citing Coleman as the man he would go to and seek advice when he was trying to break into broadcasting.
Coleman’s famous call of a great catch by Hall of Fame left fielder Carl Yastrzemski to protect a no-hit bid by rookie Billy Rohr may be one of the famous calls of his career. Coleman is also known for his signature home run phrase, "They usually show movies on a flight like that."
8. John Sterling: New York Yankees
New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling has announced every single game since the beginning of the 1989 season, and Yankees fans have become quite familiar with Sterling’s signature phrase that he uses at the end of every Yankees victory: “The Yankees win, theeeeeeee Yankees win!”, with heavy emphasis on the second use of the word “the.”
His most iconic phrase however, may be the home run catch phrase that he has used for many years: "Swung on and there it goes! That ball is high! It is far! It is...GONE!"
7. Ken “Hawk” Harrelson: Chicago White Sox
One thing that television broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson can never be accused of is objectiveness, at least not when it comes to the Chicago White Sox.
While his obvious “homer” style favoring the home team can be a turnoff for anyone who’s not a White Sox fan, Harrelson does have one of the better home run catch phrases among modern broadcasters.
Whenever a White Sox player launches one deep, you can hear Harrelson with his famous “Stretch,” and “You can put it on the board!” calls that have made him an icon on the South Side.
6. Mel Allen: New York Yankees
From 1939 to 1964, and again from 1976 to 1985, broadcaster Mel Allen not only became known as the voice of the New York Yankees, but was also the most recognizable play-by-play man of his era.
5. Kenny Mayne: ESPN SportCenter
Since 1994, broadcaster Kenny Mayne has been yucking it up with ESPN, on SportsCenter and a variety of shows designed to play to his irreverent and dry sense of humor.
Mayne is known for a variety of home run catch phrases, the most famous being, "I am king of the diamond! Let there be an abundant clubhouse feast! Bring me the finest meats and cheeses in all the land!"
4. Ernie Harwell: Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers fans had the pleasure of listening to the voice of legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell for 42 seasons, and many of his catch phrases became a part of his signature style.
His phrase “Long gone,” with an emphasis on long, was one of the more recognizable catch phrases in Harwell’s repertoire.
3. Harry Caray: Chicago Cubs
For over 50 years, play-by-play man Harry Caray was known for his unabashed love of the game of baseball, and for his many colloquialisms. While Caray’s tenure as the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals was longer (1945-1969), he was most associated with his time with the lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs.
Caray’s signature home run phrase, "It could be, it might be...It is! A home run!" was just one of the many phrases made famous by the legendary broadcaster.
T2. Harry Kalas: Philadelphia Phillies
The iconic, baritone voice of Harry Kalas was enjoyed by Philadelphia Phillies fans from 1971 until his sudden death by heart attack in the early afternoon on April 13, 2009. Kalas was immortalized in the baseball Hall of Fame with his selection as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, given to broadcasters for their “major contributions to baseball.”
Kalas’ most famous catch phrase was created when he was watching a Phillies batting practice session sometime in the mid-1970s, when slugger Greg Luzinski launched a drive into the upper deck. Then-shortstop Larry Bowa said, “Wow! That’s way outta here,” and Kalas adopted the phrase and put his own spin on it, saying, "Watch that baby...Outta here!"
T2. Phil Rizzuto: New York Yankees
Phil Rizzuto, a small-statured shortstop, who was once told by Hall of Fame manager to find himself a shoe-shine box, started his career with the New York Yankees in 1941, and for the next 16 seasons, established himself as one of the best Yankees shortstops of all time.
Rizzuto, who won the American League MVP award in 1950, stayed with the Yankees after his retirement in 1956 and worked behind the microphone for the next 40 seasons.
Rizzuto had a campy style as a play-by-play announcer, and he quickly became as loved for his broadcasting style as much as the way he played the game of baseball.
Rizzuto’s famous “Holy Cow!” is indelibly etched in the minds of New York Yankees fans.
1. Dave Niehaus: Seattle Mariners
While the Seattle Mariners didn’t exactly become an attraction to baseball fans due to their losing ways for the first 15 years of their existence, their radio play-by-play man, Dave Niehaus, quickly became a household name due to his unique way of calling games.
For 34 seasons, Niehaus delighted his audience with his exuberance and use of several catch phrases, including his signature home run catch phrase, "Fly away!" for home runs hit by a Mariners player, and his even more famous, "Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma, it's grand salami time!" when a grand slam was hit by a Mariner.
Niehaus was awarded the Ford C. Frick award in 2008 by the baseball Hall of Fame for his many years of broadcast excellence.