16 Biggest 'Homer' Announcers in MLB History

Avi Wolfman-Arent@@awolfmancomethCorrespondent IIMarch 16, 2012

16 Biggest 'Homer' Announcers in MLB History

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    Major League Baseball's many homer announcers fall into two rough categories: good and bad.

    Enlightening, I know.

    As always there is plenty of grey area in between, but that's the basic idea.

    The good embrace you with their homerism and bring you into a shared space, where the blurred lines between observer and fan provide a sort of rhetorical comfort food.

    The bad alienate you, either by abrasion or palpable insincerity.

    Really, this is an extended disclaimer. Don't expect good or bad announcers on this list. Expect both, with a slippery shared trait binding them.

16. Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton

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    The Miami (neé Florida) Marlins' lead team seems to broadcast as if no one is watching, which, to be fair, is probably true.

    Rather than rise above the monotony, however, they seem to embrace it, fading into the bleak, orange emptiness that surrounds them.

    They aren't an offensive or abrasive duo, but it's white-noise fare.

    Perhaps the only notable thing about Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton is their propensity to call players by first name, a classic homer giveaway. That and their "His name is Dan Uggla" home run call, which lost its ironic charm long before the second baseman was traded.

    Thing They Probably Said:

    "His name is OSVALDO MARTINEZ...and he has been optioned to Triple-A."

15. Jerry Remy

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    Jerry Remy's designation as a homer is entirely based on his accent.

    In my mind, anyone sporting such a prominent New England patois must have an intense sports bias. They must spend their idle time dusting framed portraits of Tom Brady and wondering why someone hasn't developed a banana creme and chocolate cookie product called Bobby Orreos

    They must. I cannot imagine these people any other way.

    Which is too bad because Remy is a colorful and evenhanded announcer. Really, he doesn't deserve this recognition.

    So for all of this Jerry, I apologize.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "How do ya like them apples?"

14. Russ Hodges

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    "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

    It was the shot heard 'round the world, and Russ Hodges' voice was the one that carried it there.

    As his famous call would suggest, Hodges' style was more voice-of-the-fan than buttoned-down professional. His buoyant enthusiasm endeared him to both generations of Giants fans and the baseball community beyond.

    In 1980, he became the fourth recipient of the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick award.

    Thing He Definitely Said:

    "The Giants win the pennant!"

13. Chris Wheeler

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    Chris Wheeler is you.

    He's the local kid that got a job with the hometown team out of college and kind of just stuck around until someone threw him in front of the mic. That was three decades ago, and the man with no baseball background or appreciable charisma has been calling games for the Phillies ever since.

    Wheeler is his own breed of homer. His analysis is balanced and his demeanor even-keeled. So that's not the problem.

    Problem is the man loves history, especially Phillies history, and the only thing he loves more is sharing that Phillies history with the viewing audience. Wheels was at that Phillies-Cubs game in 1987, and yes, he is going to recount it in excruciating detail.

    Oh really Chris, I didn't know Von Hayes went 5-for-6, but now that I do I'll be sure to continue not giving a crap.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "Now let me tell you about Steve Bedrosian's stool..."

12. Al Hrabosky

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    If you were associated with the St. Louis Cardinals, you'd love 'em too.

    Great players, great fans, great franchise—it's easy to see the appeal.

    So I don't blame longtime color commentator Al Hrabosky for drinking the Kool-Aid. I bet it tastes pretty damn good.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "In 1862, when the St. Louis Cardinals invented baseball..."

11. Chip Caray

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    Chip Caray is best known for being an awful announcer and, on an absolutely related note, the man who gave us the single most memorable miss-call of the past decade.

    Let us not forget that he was also an insufferable jock-sniffer who insisted on calling Atlanta Braves players by their first name and, by extension, dragging the family name through the mud.

    On the bright side, he's a good looking guy. Maybe he could start a second career modeling golf shirts. I don't know, I'm just spitballing over here.

    Thing He Actually Said Repeatedly:

    "Fisted!"

10. Brian Anderson

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    If I was in Brian Anderson's position, I'd do the exact same thing.

    The Rays are a really good team with a ton of exciting talent, and no one in Florida seems to care. Faced with such deficits, you almost have to be a homer.

    You kind of have to give the ol' high-pitched, soft-voiced, "Heeyyyyy guys, there's the baseball team over here and they're pretty good, and it would be awesome if you checked us out some time." It would almost be irresponsible not to.

    That said, Brian Anderson is a total homer.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "Guys! Did anyone see that Evan Longoria base hit? It was pretty awesome. Hello?"

9. Daron Sutton

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    In describing Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton, the words "dominant," "duable," and even "underappreciated," come to mind.

    In describing his son Daron, I'll stop at "smug."

    Perhaps it's his condescending treatment of opponents that has caused him to bounce from the Angels to the Brewers to the Diamondbacks, all in the course of one decade.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "With all due respect, I have no respect for your team."

8. Bert Blyleven

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    If you do color commentary in the Upper Midwest, homerism comes with the territory.

    It is a land of friendly, optimistic people and they demand a friendly, optimistic broadcaster. Journalistic integrity be damned. 

    Bert Blyleven fits right into the mold, a sort of foul-mouthed Santa Claus type that keeps everybody happy and entertained. You won't confuse his analysis with his pitching prowess, but the man keeps things moving.

    Thing I Wish He Said:

    "I don't rise just above, fool, I Blylevitate. Twinkietown out!"

7. Rob Dibble

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    Rob Dibble loved him some Washington Nationals, but this was dark, unhealthy, "Tainted Love" kind of love.

    You see, Rob Dibble wanted so very badly for the Nationals to win baseball games.

    When they did, he would clutch them tight to his tattooed chest and tell them they were the beautiful. When they didn't, he would turn angry—hurling bitter salvos at any object in his path, as if to say, "Why don't you love me back?"

    At best, the dichotomy was annoying. At worst, it was frightening.

    That all this was packaged in his bad-Mountain-Dew-commercial of a personality made the whole thing unbearable.

    The sad charade hit an all-time low in 2010, when Dibble told prized prospect Stephen Strasburg to "suck it up" in reference to injuries that would eventually require surgery. MASN fired him shortly thereafter.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "I want to rip Stephen Strasburg's right arm from his body, roast it over a pit and devour it in front of his children...but only because I love him so damn much."

6. John Sterling

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    It is high...it is far...it is...annoying.

    It's annoying.

    Maybe hometown fans love the cartoonish, YES-man ways of John Sterling, but as an outside observer with absolutely no interest in the New York Yankees, I can tell you this: It is annoying.

    The bombast and self-referential calls paint him as another New Yorker who thinks both his city and team are at the center of the universe.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "Now I haven't consulted a map recently, but I'm pretty sure the world is flat and extends no further than Newark."

Chris Berman

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    This slide is an elaborate pun, because, you know, Chris Berman calls homers. He calls the annual Home Run derby.

    Get it? Homers.

    Back, back, back, back, back and...gone, they've just banned me from the English language.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "To tell you the truth, I can't stand me either."

5. Suzyn Waldman

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    I hate doing this to Suzyn Waldman. She went through a lot of B.S. to make it in an alpha male world and deserves more due than she gets, but her heart is as pinstriped as they come.

    Her hysteria over Roger Clemens' return to the New York Yankees was indicative of a lemming-like attitude toward Yankees brass (George Steinbrenner). Her on-air sniffles after Joe Torre's final game were, well, sad.

    I don't fault her for showing emotion, but it's clear she's not after journalistic objectivity.

    Thing She Probably Said:

    "OH MY GOODNESS! OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS I'VE EVER SEEN...A BEEF TENDERLOIN HAS BEEN SERVED IN GEORGE STEINBRENNER'S BOX. I AM TOLD IT IS MEDIUM RARE AND GARNISHED WITH HARICOT VERT!"

4. Ron Santo

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    The late Ron Santo was the absolute best kind of homer—a color commentator so genuine and vulnerable in his biases that it never felt alienating, even if you were rooting for the opposition.

    He epitomized boundless Cubbie enthusiasm without even a hint of conceit or self-awareness. Which is to say that he spoke from the heart, and oftentimes unintelligibly—but that was the charm.

    So what if he butchered the English language ON OCCASION, Ron Santo is a goshdarn legend and there isn't anything you or your highbrow friends can do about it.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "GARBLEFLISHBUMBERSTEW TIME FOR A COMEBACK BOYS GIBBLEDYGROCKSHLABOOM."

3. Bob Prince

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    Known as "the Gunner" for his rapid-fire delivery, Bob Prince ruled Pittsburgh airways for three decades, and his work covering the Pirates earned him posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame.

    Over those many years he made no secrets about his rooting interest. Besides referring to the team as "we" or "us," he popularized a hot-dog shaped object called "The Green Weenie" that he would use to jinx opponents

    As The Green Weenie would indicate, Prince's homerism was largely in good fun.

    Thing I Wish He Said:

    "Mozart was OK, but I prefer Skrillex. Oh, you didn't know Bob Prince was hip with it?"

2. Harry Caray

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    Harry Caray was a Cub fan first and a broadcaster second—and the Wrigley faithful wouldn't have it any other way.

    His infectious enthusiasm and heart-on-the-sleeve cheerleading came to epitomize the Cub fan experience. It did not earn him widespread respect within the industry, but it did lead to his deification among the diehards.

    After all, straight men like Mel Allen and Red Barber never got a statue.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "I would only hope snarky sportswriters have the common decency to refrain from lampooning me. I'm a daggum legend."

1. Hawk Harrelson

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    There is little consensus in the subjective world of evaluating announcers, but baseball gives us two absolutes: Vin Scully is the absolute best, and Ken "Hawk" Harrelson is the absolute worst.

    Only the most passionate and delusional White Sox fan could code his needling homerism and incessant catchphrasing as endearing. He's a clown, and a biased one at that.

    Now, I'm not a stickler for standards or tradition, and I understand the need to distinguish oneself in a profession of talking heads. Announcers needs not be automatons.

    But there has to be a line, and actively rooting on the opposition to fail has to be across said line.

    And maybe he could get away with pronouns like "our" and "us" if he otherwise transmitted some semblance of balance in his calls. But he doesn't, and that slant is often expressed in diatribes that, while cathartic for some White Sox fans, I'm sure, sully the viewing experience for the rest of us.

    It's like watching a game with the grumpy uncle you never want to watch games with. So, yeah, it isn't fun.

    Thing He Probably Said:

    "I have it on good authority that Joe West is Satan."