Ranking the Best Home Run Calls in Baseball
The game of baseball is poetry in motion.
Every poem needs a great narrator, which is the equivalent of having a quality commentator in baseball.
Some enhance the enjoyment of the moment, while others make you put the television on mute.
Announcers take great pride in their home run call, which is their opportunity to put their stamp on the baseball game.
Here is a ranking of the best home run calls in baseball.
Remember, this ranking is not based on longevity and popularity alone, but also the creativity, excitement and delivery.
For the record, even if this included the top 5,000 announcers, Chris Berman would still not be included.
10. Mike Shannon, St. Louis Cardinals
Shannon has been the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals since 1972 and certainly has his place in baseball lore with his signature voice.
His home run call of "GET UP, BABY! GET UP! OH YEAH!" is adored through out St. Louis.
He was able to get a great deal of practice during the 1998 season as Mark McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs.
Shannon is an Emmy award winning announcer and was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
9. Duane Kuiper, San Francisco Giants
Perhaps no announcer gets more excited over important moments than Kuiper.
His voice is known through out baseball due to his frequent home run calls during Barry Bonds' incredible run.
Kuiper is known for "HE HITS IT HIGH..HITS IT DEEP...IT IS OUTTA HERE!"
The San Francisco Giants offense has not allowed him to make the call as often as during Bonds' run but that just makes it more enjoyable when he does get to use it.
Kuiper is a five-time Emmy winning broadcaster and has put his stamp on announcing baseball games.
8. Gary Thorne, Baltimore Orioles
Gary Thorne has bounced around as a broadcaster over his career, but has been beloved at every stop.
He also announces NHL, college football and professional bowling, but he is known for his terrific home run calls.
His famous line is "GOODBYE HOME RUN!" and "MERCY!"
Thorne was the announcer of the New York Mets were several years but was fired after 2002 when he made comments critical of manager Bobby Valentine.
Since then, he has become an extremely popular commentator for his bellowing voice and his terrific work during the World Series.
He is now the play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles.
7. Bob Uecker, Milwaukee Brewers
While Bob Uecker may be most recognizable for his role as the announcer in the Major League trilogy, he has been the voice of the Brewers since 1971.
Uecker is one of the most humorous and intelligent announcers in the business and was rewarded for his work by winning the Ford C. Frick Award in 2003 which is given annually to a broadcaster with major contributions to baseball.
Uecker is known for his home run call of "GET UP! GET OUTTA HERE!" as well as "Juuuuuust a bit outside" after an incredibly wild pitch during Major League.
Milwaukee will be erecting a statue of Uecker later this season to commemorate his significance to the franchise.
6. Dave Niehaus, Seattle Mariners
Although Dave Niehaus passed away in 2010, there is no way I could leave him off this list.
He was the voice of the Seattle Mariners from 1977-2010 and his voice was one of the most distinct in the business.
His famous call of "SWUNG ON AND BELTED!" could be heard through out all Seattle and he brought excitement to the franchise even after the days of Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Jay Buhner and Ken Griffey Jr.
Niehaus will never be forgotten in Seattle and he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.
5. Vin Scully, Los Angeles Dodgers
Is there a voice more synonymous with Major League Baseball than Vin Scully?
The man has been the voice of the Dodgers—beginning when they played in Brooklyn—since 1950. He rarely misses a game aside from his absence in 2010 and this season.
He has seen lots of baseball in his career and has been in the booth for some of baseball's most memorable moments including Hank Aaron's 715th career home run, Sandy Koufax's perfect game, the 1986 World Series which featured Bill Buckner's infamous error and Kirk Gibson's improbable walk-off in 1988.
Scully is a baseball lifer and will be remembered long after he is out of the game.
His voice is distinct and his home run calls really give the audience a great idea of the importance of the moment.
4. John Sterling, New York Yankees
Look, I am not a fan of the New York Yankees and I certainly do not forget all of Sterling's flaws over the years, but the man has an incredible imagination and creates some really great nicknames.
I applaud his enthusiasm for his craft, although it borders on gregarious at times, he certainly is able to convey the importance of the moments to the fans.
Among his best home runs calls were for Melky Cabrera, "AND THAT'S THE MELKY WAY!" or during Mark Teixiera's blast in which he proclaims, "MARK SENDS A TEXT MESSAGE TO RIGHT! YOU ARE ON THE MARK, TEIXIEIRA!"
Who could forget his 1990's calls of "THE BAM-TINO!" and "SHANE SPENCER THE HOME RUN DISPENSER!"
Again, Sterling is not a favorite of many fans but this is not a popularity contest. He is innovative and this ranking rewards that.
3. Tom Hamilton, Cleveland Indians
"SWING AND A DRIVE...WAAAYYY BACKKKK...GAWNEEE!"
I remember seeing clips of the Cleveland Indians during their prime of the 1990s and hearing the voice of Tom Hamilton and being in awe of his home run calls, primarily when Jim Thome or Manny Ramirez hit a real bomb.
Hamilton is another clear fan of the team he announces for but he is such a part of baseball lore at this point that it does not matter.
Every Indians' home run immediately takes on epic proportions when Hamilton is in the booth. His voice bellows through out the booth and really captures the moment.
On a side note, he was not nearly a joyous when Pedro Martinez threw six no-hit innings during the 1999 ALDS to silence the bats of the potent Indians.
2. Ken Harrelson, Chicago White Sox
"The Hawk", as he is affectionately known in Chicago, has one of the most recognizable voices in all of sports.
He is about as passionate about his team as a commentator can be.
Every home run turns into a party when Harrelson is in the booth, and I look forward to hear his call every time.
He also has the famous "HE GONE!" line after a White Sox pitcher records a strikeout of the opposing batter, "MERCY!" after a great play and "STAY FAIR!" on a ball approaching the foul poul.
Some may not agree with his obvious hometown bias, but I happen to think it is part of the game and he is no more guilty of this than John Sterling.
1. Gary Cohen, New York Mets
If you think I am being biased with my decision, you may be correct because I grew up listening to Gary's calls since I was a child.
I am not alone in my estimation, however, as he received a nomination for an Emmy in 2011 as the premier "on-camera talent: play-by-play" voice in the business.
Gary has an incredible ability of capturing the magnitude of the moment, changing his voice tones depending on the situation, alerting viewers of all pertinent information and an overall superb knowledge of the game.
His memorable home run calls will not soon be forgotten in the memories of Mets fans, and he is as much a part of the franchise as any player.
Gary Cohen is the premier commentator in the MLB.