- 07/05/2011, 11:46PM ET
MrSoloDolo said 07/05, 11:46 PM
Other than Al Michaels' call of the USA upset of the Soviet Union, what is the greatest sports announcer call of all time?
My selection is simple. "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"
Picture this: the year is 1951, and the number 1, 2 and 3 sport in America is baseball, and has been for years. The Giants are one of the more popular teams in the nation, and are very, very good. They are locked in an epic battle with the crosstown rival Dodgers, and the NL Pennant is at stake. The game looks to be Brooklyn's heading into the 9th, but the Giants storm back and tie it up with 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th. Bobby Thomson launched a HR on the second pitch of his at bat, and let Russ Hodges do the talking for him.
The play has been viewed as one of the most memorable plays in all of sports history. The Best Damn Sports Show Period had the play as the #1 most memorable baseball play of all time.
Why is it that a slightly out of the ordinary HR in a league pennant game has become something so memorable, something to integral to the game? Because the Giants have won the pennant!
NEW NAME said 07/06, 01:08 AM
While Thomson's HR was an epic moment in baseball, the moment becomes somewhat tainted in retrospect now that we know the Giants had been stealing their opponents signs and Thomson no doubt knew exactly what pitch was coming
It wasn't against the rules at the time, but it feels a lot like cheating. Kinda sullies the memory, doesn't it?
Imagine this scene instead - Kingston, Jamaica - January 22, 1973
Smokin' Joe Frazier was gearing up for a soon to be scheduled rematch with Muhammed Ali. Frazier was considered "Invincible" after dealing Ali his 1st pro loss in "The Fight of The Century" & was putting his undefeated record & undisputed title on the line against the #1 contender (but unproven) George Foreman
The Sundown Showdown
The fight was called by the greatest announcer in the history of sports, Mr. Howard Cosell
Barely into the start of the 1st round, Frazier waded in, head up & unprotected
And The Challenger dropped the Hammer on him
Cosell would utter the words that would become a part of our culture
"Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier!"
Cosell's call was better
MrSoloDolo said 07/06, 12:14 PM
The tipped pitch speculation (exactly what it is mind you) is something that really isn't relevant to this topic. Because it's about the call. The sound of Russ Hodges repeating "the Giants win the pennant!" is something etched in to most baseball fans' memories, and even non-fans like myself. When I think of the call, I don't really know the history or the surrounding factors to it off the top of my head. But something I will always remember is that, well, the Giants win the pennant.
For my selection, the call makes the play memorable. A simple walk off HR doesn't leap to the top of baseball lore just because it was in the NL pennant game. No, Thomson's HR became the "shot heard 'round the world" because the iconic broadcasting of Hodges. While yours in an excellent choice in terms of the call, the moment is just as big as the call itself. Frazier going down was a huge moment in the history of boxing.
While Cosell is indeed a great announcer, the sheer impact of the event he watched unfold is bigger than the call. Hodges' brevity in 1951 is what made that game one of the most memorable moments in sports history. My selection is a call that made the moment memorable.
NEW NAME said 07/07, 10:23 AM
If revealed the Moon Landing happened in the Nevada desert, would that diminish Armstrong's "One Small Step" speech?
The Giants went 52-18 and Thomson himself batted .100 higher once the sign-stealing began
Its like McGwire hitting #62 now, for a more apt comparison
What made Cosell great was that he was so annoying, yet he still commanded everyone's attention. His skill in the art of oration was unparalleled
He had the power to make himself a part of the events he covered
His personality, oversized ego, & sense of drama sucked everybody in
What do we remember about Frazier-Foreman? That it only happened because Frazier and Ali couldn't agree on a purse split for a rematch? The 6 ferocious knockdowns? How stunned the boxing world was that the man who had beaten Ali would get pummeled in one of the most lopsided fights ever?
No. We most remember Cosell's call
Love him/hate him, Cosell's announcing transcended the events he presided over. His words became more than just pronouncements made during sport events. They became cultural catch-phrases for all times. This call was his greatest
Cosell - 3 words
Hodges - 5 words
Brevity? Advantage Cosell
MrSoloDolo said 07/07, 09:19 PM
Comparing a huge conspiracy to the speculation that a pitch might or might not have been tipped? I'm sorry, but I fail to see how that extreme of a comparison applies at all.
What we remember about Frazier-Foreman was that Frazier was the most unbeatable boxer in the world, and that he suffered a huge upset. Sure, the call is memorable, and adds to it. I'm not debating that. What I am debating is that the call made the moment. Honestly, how many people cared about the 1952 NL Pennant game? 1953? 2003? Not many. So why then, does a play on a stage that is to be frank not exactly the biggest available (this wasn't the World Series) go down as one of the greatest moments in its sport's history? Because of the call.
Both calls were great. One occurred in an immensely popular boxing match and was made by a very sub-par announcer. The other occurred in a popular in its own right (but not exactly the most important game ever) baseball game. Both have become memorable moments, but which would you honestly say was made memorable more so by its call? That's right, the shot heard 'round the world.
Hodges' call > Cossell's call.
Thanks for the TD. It was fun.
NEW NAME said 07/08, 12:18 AM
The sign-stealing by the Giants is not just "speculation". You may want to do a little more thorough research on this matter
When McGwire hit #62, it was a magical moment in sports. Yet you are very unlikely to find that call on any Top 10 list on bleacherreport.com - Why? Because when we put the event in the context of historical knowledge, it simply loses its luster
Such is the case with Thomson's HR
"One occurred in an immensely popular boxing match and was made by a very sub-par announcer."
Howard Cosell was one of the most influential broadcasters of our times. Even if you didn't like him, you couldn't stop listening. Thats not "sub-par" - thats par excellence
It was not his job to be "likeable"
People would still have watched MNF without him, they would have watched the horror of the '72 Olympics, they would have listened to Ali rhyme
Frazier would have still tumbled to the canvas as a disbelieving crowd stood in shock
The difference, and why we remember these things so much more clearly, is because Cosell was there
And Cosell told it like it was
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