Since the dawn of sports broadcasting, numerous unforgettable moments – and accounts of those moments – have been carved into the history of sports coverage on radio and television, and now on the Internet. Moments such as “The Shot” by the Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard in 2019; Team USA’s “Miracle On Ice” at Lake Placid 1980, as called by Al Michaels; or even baseball’s “Shot Heard ‘Round The World” in 1951, the call of which you can hear in the above YouTube clip.
In my nearly forty years, I’ve witnessed my fair share of classic sports moments and their calls, including “The Shot” – the call of Kawhi’s buzzer-beater by a Korean-language broadcast team is one of many great moments in sport that I’ve saved in my Favourites on YouTube. In today’s TTINPO (Top Ten, In No Particular Order), I present to you my ten favourite classic sports calls from 1983 to the present.
- “Touch ’em all, Joe!” (1993, courtesy MLB)
Possibly the greatest moment ever at the SkyDome in Toronto… Joe Carter, before tens of thousands of fans, hits a three-run walk-off homer over left field, defeating the Phillies and winning the Blue Jays their second straight World Series championship. I believe Jays radio announcer Tom Cheek said it best, as heard in this clip.
- “The Golden Goal” (2010, courtesy IOC/COBC/CTV)
For our parents’ generation, the biggest Canadian hockey moment of their time was Paul Henderson’s last-minute goal for Team Canada against the Soviets in 1972, with the great Foster Hewitt coming out of retirement to call the series. For our generation, however, arguably the greatest Canadian hockey moment of our time has to be Sidney Crosby’s gold medal-winning goal for Canada, in overtime, to defeat Team USA at Vancouver 2010. Chris Cuthbert, now with Sportsnet as of 2020, called it on CTV.
- “DOWN GOES BROWN!!!” (1992, courtesy NHL/Global/CBC/CJCL)
December 1992, Blackhawks at Leafs. The Buds’ Sylvain Lefebvre squared off against the Hawks’ Rob Brown, resulting in, as seen in this clip from Global TV’s “Sportsline”, the best fight of the week, according to Sportsline co-host Mark Hebscher. (Second-best went to yet another Bob Probert/Tie Domi scrap, this one a few days earlier, at MSG.) Leafs PxP announcer Joe Bowen’s call of the fight (with a couple of words from commentator Gord Stellick) is an absolute classic, and it was that call that inspired one Sean McIndoe. Yes guy!
- “She is…GONE!” (1988, courtesy MLB/NBC)
From one of the best in the biz, this call from long-time (and recently retired) Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is easily his most memorable. In Game 1 of the ’88 World Series, an injured Kirk Gibson surprised everyone, including Scully, by stepping up to the plate in the 9th inning, smacking the game-winning homer into right field and putting the Dodgers up 1-0 in the series, which L.A. would go on to win.
- “BANNERMAN!” (1985, courtesy NHL/WGN)
In the 1985 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks were in the Twin Cities to take on the Minnesota North Stars at the Met Center. After the Hawks gave up the puck, the Stars’ Keith Acton went off on his own, headed straight for Chicago netminder Murray Bannerman, who denied Acton on that breakaway – and triggered one of the most famous calls by Blackhawks PxP announcer Pat Foley.
- “CAN YOU, BELIEVE, WHAT WE, JUST SAW!?” (2007, courtesy NHL/Sportsnet West)
January 4th, 2007, Stars at Oilers. In the final minute of the third period, trailing by a goal, Edmonton had an empty net and an extra skater on the
Northlands Coliseum Skyreach CentreRexall Place ice, hoping to send the game to overtime. The Oil somehow lost the puck to Dallas’ Patrik Stefan, who then headed for the empty Edmonton net, but got a bit too fancy in front of said empty net, hit an imperfection in the ice, according to viewers who were watching Sportsnet’s HD feed, and bobbled the puck before falling down. The Oilers then raced the puck all the way into the Stars zone, and with two seconds remaining in regulation time, Ales Hemsky tied it up, much to the excitement of the crowd inside the arena. However, Dallas ended up winning this matchup in OT. Not only is the PxP announcer’s call a classic, commentator Ray Ferraro ripping Stefan is pure gold.
- “AGUEROOOOOOOOOOO!” (2012, courtesy FIFA/EPL/Sky Sports)
May 13th, 2012, Queen’s Park Rangers at Manchester City. Down a goal going into stoppage time in the second half, City tied the game early in the added few minutes. But in the fourth additional minute, Sergio Aguero beat the QPR goalkeeper, City fans went absolutely wild, and legendary Sky Sports football announcer Martin Tyler gave us a just-as-legendary call.
- “We’ll see you tomorrow night!” (1991 and 2011, courtesy MLB/FOX)
October 26th, 1991. In Game 6 of the ’91 World Series, Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett hit a homer off Atlanta P Charlie Leibrandt to lead the Twins to a 4-3 victory and force Game 7. Jack Buck, the long-time voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, had the call.
Almost exactly twenty years later, also in a World Series Game 6, Buck’s son Joe, now PxP announcer for NFL and MLB games on FOX, paraphrased his dad’s famous line, when the hometown Cardinals sent the 2011 series to Game 7 versus the Rangers, with the Cards’ David Freese hitting a triple in the 9th inning to tie the game.
SIDE NOTE: although I hadn’t heard of Jack Buck prior to the following event, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of his passing in June 2002. I was on my way back to Belleville after visiting a friend in Cobourg, and was listening to The Jim Rome Show on one of his nearby affiliates, probably WGR Buffalo (550) or CKLC Kingston (1380). Rome announced Buck’s death, and almost immediately, “the clones”, as well as some of the who’s who of American sports, called in and emailed in with tributes and memories of Buck.
- “MAY DAY!” (1993, courtesy NHL/WGR)
April 24, 1993, Bruins at Sabres in game four of a first-round playoff series. In overtime, Buffalo’s Brad May picked up a pass at the blue line from Pat LaFontaine, then snuck the puck between the legs of Boston defenceman Ray Bourque before beating goaltender Andy Moog for the Sabres’ sweep of the B’s. Below is easily the greatest moment ever called by Buffalo PxP announcer Rick Jeanneret.
- Mark Buehrle gets a perfect game (2009, courtesy MLB/Comcast Sportsnet)
July 23rd, 2009, Rays at White Sox. After teammate Dewayne Wise saved the day with an epic catch at the centre field wall, robbing Tampa’s Gabe Kapler of a home run that would have killed Buehrle’s potential perfecto, history was made as the final batter, the Rays’ Jason Bartlett, smacked a grounder to Sox SS Alexei Ramirez, with 1B Josh Fields catching the ball for the final out – and Buehrle getting his perfect game. Here’s the call from Sox announcer Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson.
Roughly five years to the day after Buehrle’s perfecto, my wife & I were in Toronto for a Blue Jays home game versus the Red Sox (final score 6-4 Jays), when Buehrle was a Jay, and at one of the breaks, possibly the 7th inning stretch, that final out from ’09 was replayed on the Jumbotron.
Honourable mentions go to Bill Leslie’s call of Troy Deeney’s stoppage time goal for Watford to beat Leicester City in the Football League Championship playoffs in May 2013, and Pat Foley’s call of Jonathan Toews’ OT winner for the Blackhawks to defeat the Blues in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What is/are your all-time favourite call(s) in sports broadcasting in your lifetime? Log in with your BMacBroadcast.ca account and post a comment!