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Recalling the Radio Calls

Dave Randall

Posted on May 27, 2018 01:57

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While we're remembering some of the most innocuous comments in the history of play-by-play, we may not realize at least two of the most storied moments were miscalled.

A lot of people echo the opinion that radio has no future, either as a conduit for music or for anything else. I don't agree, but I will say that the blackout of Dodger games over 70 percent of L.A. and surrounding communities has exposed the fact younger people don't hold listening to sports on the radio in much esteem.

If they wanted to, they could hear every great play of every game within minutes of it happening. They're a mouse click away on the web, or shown every post game and highlight show on radio and TV. This was not always so. Games were not always preserved, and much of what was called lived on only in the listener's memory.

It doesn't have to be a great play, it could be a blooper, like Jerry Doggett during an early 1970's exhibition game, roaring to someone off mike, "A man makes a play like that and you missed it? JEEEESUS!" Or on a Los Angeles Rams football broadcast in 1994, when the late Deacon Jones, as analyst raved about the play of a defensive lineman, his style and size, then spouted, "Jesus Christ, he's big!" Silence followed, then announcer Steve Physioc continued the play-by-play. (I would have responded, "Yes, he is of Biblical proportions," but I've never gotten to call football professionally -- only in college.)

It's interesting to hear calls once thought gone forever. Since the kinescope of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series was found in the basement of Bing Crosby's old vineyard, we've been able to enjoy Mel Allen's objectivity and controlled heartbreak as the Pirates Bill Maseroski hit his famous game winning homer to beat the Yankees. ("Look out, now!" yells Mel. A great call, unheard for 50 years).

Broadcasts of two other moments can be heard, but are miscalled: Sandy Amoros' great catch in Game 7 of the 1955 Series, and Stu Miller's wind-blown balk at Candlestick Park in a 1961 All-Star Game (there were two each year between 1959 and 1962). I've seen photos and read about Amoros' catch since I was a little kid. With Brooklyn leading 2-0, and two Yankees on base in the bottom of the 6th, Yogi Berra hit an opposite field drive to left that Amoros ran into the corner and caught, then whirled and threw to Shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who doubled up Gil McDougal at first. On NBC radio, Bob Neal, suffering from a head cold, both confused and downplayed this game changer. Vin Scully called it on TV, but, sadly, there is no recording.

In that 1961 All-Star Game, the gales of Candlestick blew, and caused diminutive National League reliever Stu Miller to balk. Jerry Doggett (again) seemed to not know what was happening. Jimmy Dudley later chimed in that the wind may have caused the game-tying balk. Photos and newspaper coverage, and word of mouth preserve it as a renowned piece of baseball lore. 

Dave Randall

Posted on May 27, 2018 01:57

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Source: FOX Sports

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