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Imagining John Sterling Home Run Calls for Yankee Legends

With the Yankees hardly being Bronx Bombers lately, the tendency is to look to the team’s glorious past, or to a hopeful future.

I saw a blog post today imagining how Yankee broadcaster John Sterling would adapt his, shall we say, colorful way of announcing Yankee home runs to potential future Yankees (based on current need and future free-agent availability).

That’s the future. What about the past? The players are listed in order of their most familiar uniform number:

1/2. Bobby Murcer: “Murcer makes the pitcher a curser!” No, that’s dumb. How about, “Bobby sends the pitcher to the lobby!” No, stick to something basic, rather than going for silly: “Bobby blasts one!”

3. Babe Ruth: This one is easy: “The Sultan swats one!”

4. Lou Gehrig: “It’s an iron filing from the Iron Horse!”

5. Joe DiMaggio: Joltin’ Joe? “Joe jolts one!”

6. Tony Lazzeri: This one is easy, since it was his established nickname: “Tony pooshes ’em up!”

6. Roy White: “Roy brings us joy!”

7/15. Tommy Henrich: Another established nickname, this one from the Voice of the Yankees, Mel Allen: “Tommy Henrich is Old Reliable again!”

7. Mickey Mantle: “Mickey mashes one!” No? How about “The Mick sends it out quick!” (Shades of Mickey Rivers.)

8. Bill Dickey: “It’s a big lickey by Dickey!” No, it doesn’t have to make a whole lot of sense. Maybe this would be better: “It’s the big stick from Dickey!”

8. Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over, and Yogi puts it over the fence!”

9. Charlie Keller: He hated being called “King Kong,” a nickname he got for being big and hairy in the 1930s, but it’s an obvious Sterlingism: “Kong is King!”

9. Hank Bauer: Another nickname established by Mel Allen: “Hank Bauer is the Man of the Hour!”

9. Roger Maris: “Roger rips one!” Uh, no. Although Mantle would laugh at it. “Maris hits one to Paris!” Better, but still lame. Let’s see… “Flight 61 takes off again!” (But what would Sterling have said before he hit #61?)

9. Graig Nettles: “Nettles settles it!”

10. Phil Rizzuto: “It’s a long-distance router for the Scooter!”

10. Chris Chambliss: “Ballgame over! 1976 American League Championship Series over! Yankees win! Theeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win! It’s slam-bliss from Chambliss!”

14. Gene Woodling: “It’s knocked clean by Gene!” Or “It’s Woodling, wouldn’t ya know!”

14. Lou Piniella: “That was sweet, Lou!” Or “Lou Piniella is a happy fella!”

15. Tom Tresh: Well, since Tresh came before Tom Seaver, Sterling could have gotten away with “Tom is terrific!” Especially since it was Tresh, not Trush, to rhyme with “crush.” Maybe “Tresh takes out the trash!”

15. Thurman Munson: “The Canton Crusher!” Or, he could use what he uses for Jeter: “El Capitan!”

17. Enos Slaughter: This one is easy: “Enos slaughters one!”

17. Mickey Rivers: “Mick the Quick is the pick with the stick!”

18. Randy Velarde: “Velarde starts the party!” Velarde didn’t hit many home runs, and I really didn’t want to put him here, since it seemed like every time I went to Yankee Stadium in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he would make an error. But this one was obvious, so I had to use it.

20. Bucky Dent: Obvious: “Bucky dents one!”

23. Don Mattingly: “It’s gone, by Don!”

24. Rickey Henderson: Back to the line I used for Dickey: “It’s the big stick from Rickey!”

25. Joe Pepitone: “Pepitone has pep!” Or “Joe Pep peppers one!”

30. Willie Randolph: I can easily see Sterling taking the easy way out, and citing Mays, who had nothing to do with the Yankees: “Say hey, Willie!”

31. Dave Winfield: “It’s a winner from Winfield!”

32. Elston Howard: “It’s an E-normous homer by E-How!” (Some of these are tough.)

36. Steve Balboni: “Steve Balboni, the Bronx Treat!” (Yeah, well, Balboni didn’t turn out to be all the good, either.)

38. Johnny Blanchard: “Blanchard sets the standard!”

44. Reggie Jackson: “Mister October brings us closer to October!” Or maybe, “Reggie jacks one!” Or, “Reggie jacks, son!”

Considering what calls he’s used the last twenty years, maybe we’re lucky John Sterling came along when he did, and not before.


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