Spontaneity beats scripted remarks
Barry Bonds' 756th home run might come on a chilly night at AT&T Park in San Francisco or -- if his pursuit of Hank Aaron suddenly stalls -- a warm summer evening in Los Angeles or San Diego.The homer might decide a tense game in the late innings or serve as a meaningless tack-on run in a 12-2 blowout. It could be a tracer just inside the foul pole or a splashdown into McCovey Cove.
|Here are some famous home run calls:
Bobby Thomson's pennant-winner vs. Brooklyn Dodgers (Oct. 3, 1951)
Russ Hodges: "Branca throws. There's a long drive. It's gonna be ... I believe ... the Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson hits it into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant! And they're going crazy! They're going crazy!''
Roger Maris' 61st vs. Boston Red Sox (Oct. 1, 1961) Phil Rizzuto: "Fastball hit deep to right. This could be it! Way back there! Holy cow! He did it! Sixty-one for Maris! Look at 'em fight for that ball out there!''
Hank Aaron's 715th vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (April 8, 1974) Milo Hamilton: "Here's the pitch by Downing. Swinging. There's a drive into left-center field. That ball is gonna be ... outta here! It's gone! It's 715! There is a new home run champion of all time ... and it's Henry Aaron!'' Curt Gowdy: "The ball's hit deep ... deep ... it is gone! He did it! He did it! Henry Aaron ... is the all-time home run leader now!'' Vin Scully: "There's a high drive into deep left-center field. Buckner goes back, to the fence, it is gone! (Scully then paused about 25 seconds as the crowd cheered.) What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it's a great moment for all of us and particularly for Henry Aaron, who is met at home plate not only by every member of the Braves but by his father and mother."
Kirk Gibson's walk-off vs. Oakland A's in World Series (Oct. 15, 1988) Jack Buck: "Gibson swings ... and a fly ball to deep right field. This is gonna be a home run! Unbelievable! A home run for Gibson! And the Dodgers have won the game, 5-4! I don't believe what I just saw!"
Mark McGwire's 62nd vs. Chicago Cubs (Sept. 8, 1998) Mike Shannon: "A shot into the corner! It might make it! There it is ... 62, folks! And we have a new home run champion ... a new Sultan of Swat!" Joe Buck: "Down the left-field line ... is it enough? Gone! There it is, 62! Touch first, Mark, you are the new single-season home run king!"
Barry Bonds' 71st vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Oct. 5, 2001) Jon Miller: "There's a high drive deep into right-center field, to the big part of the ballpark ... NUMBER 71! And what a shot over the 421-foot marker!'' Vin Scully: "The 1-0 pitch. A fastball hit into deep right-center field. It's a way out and gone. There it is, No. 71."
Bonds' 715th vs. Colorado Rockies (May 28, 2006) Duane Kuiper: "The pitch. Bonds hits one high, hits it deep to center. Outta here! 715! The wait is over. They are on their feet at AT&T Park. Bonds passes Babe Ruth. He is second on the all-time home run list!''
I've said this about all of Barry's really significant home runs: You just can't screw up the number. If you get the number wrong, you might as well just go in a corner and shoot yourself.
-- Duane Kuiper
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ESPN.com's complete coverage of Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. For more, go to our Chasing Aaron page
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