Can you imagine where sports would be without some of the greatest play-by-play announcers and their incredible sports calls? I mean, let’s be honest, those sports calls help turn that moment into a memory you remember forever. It wouldn’t be the same without the announcer.
Whether you’re watching the game on television, online, or through the radio, having a play-by-play announcer is crucial to the overall enjoyment of the game. They help paint the picture of what’s going on at any given moment of the game – without that, you’d be lost!
But every once in a while, a play-by-play announcer surprises us with one of the craziest sports calls of all-time. It usually happens during a pivotal play or incredible accomplishment that calls for an over-the-top reaction. It’s what gets the fans fired up and helps create the overall moment.
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What Are the Craziest Sports Calls of All-Time?
Throughout the history of sports broadcasting, there have been a number of play-by-play announcers that have etched their name into history as some of the greatest of all-time. They continuously ‘wow’ us with their amazing sports calls and are vital to ‘making the moment.’
Some of the most memorable play-by-play announcers of all-time include Vin Scully (baseball), Mike Emrick (hockey), Rick Jeanneret (hockey), Al Michaels (football), Pat Summerall (football), John Madden (football), Marv Albert (basketball), and Dick Enberg (various).
Now that you’ve been introduced to some of the greatest announcers of all-time, let’s take a look at some of the craziest sports calls of all-time – some of which are from those listed above. These are the sports calls that get implanted into your memory bank the moment they happen!
20. “Auburn’s gonna win the football game!” – Rod Bramblett
It was November 30, 2013 when Rod Bramblett had one of the greatest sports calls in recent history. The Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, both with 11-1-0 records, were playing in the Iron Bowl and the game was tied 28-28 with just one second remaining in the fourth quarter.
Alabama was lining up for a 57-yard kick to win the game, a kick that ended up falling short. That’s when Adam Griffith caught the missed field goal in the endzone and returned it for a game-winning touchdown as time expired. Rod Bramblett made the moment memorable.
19. “Hello… Heisman!” – Keith Jackson
It was November 23, 1991 and the Michigan Wolverines were matched up against the Ohio State Buckeyes. It was a rivalry, but the environment was even more electric with wide receiver Desmond Howard leading the race for the Heisman Trophy – college football’s MVP award.
It was late in the first half with Michigan up 17-3. Howard was back to field a punt and ended up turning it into a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown. As he made his way into the endzone, Keith Jackson blessed us with the sports call and Howard blessed us with the Heisman pose.
18. “That ball is gonna be… outta here!” – Milo Hamilton
Hank Aaron is one of the greatest hitters of all-time and currently ranks second in MLB history with 755 career home runs, but let’s take it back to the end of the 1973 season. He ended the year with 713 career home runs – just one shy of tying Babe Ruth and two shy of the record.
On April 8, 1974, Aaron did what he waited all offseason for – broke the then-record. He hit his 715th home run during the fourth game of the season and Vin Scully was present to make the call. It was a memorable moment already, but Scully made it that much better with his call.
17. “And we’ll see you tomorrow night!” – Jack Buck
Just one month before the “Hello… Heisman!” call by Keith Jackson, we were blessed with another one of the greatest sports calls of all-time. This time it was Jack Buck calling the incredible ending to Game 6 of the 1991 World Series between the Twins and Braves.
The two teams were tied at the end of regulation and both went scoreless in the 10th inning. The Braves had the 3-2 series lead, but gave up a walk-off home run to Kirby Puckett – his third hit of the game. It sent the series to a Game 7, which the Twins won in another spectacular fashion.
16. “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” – Vin Scully
Vin Scully is a name you’ll want to get used to as we go down this list – he’s a legend. This call came during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. The Dodgers found themselves down 3-4 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.
That’s when Kirk Gibson, who was left off the roster due to an injury, stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter. With a man on base, Gibson hit a walk-off home run that gave the Dodgers a 5-4 win in Game 1. They never looked back and would later win the World Series in five games.
15. “Go crazy, folks, go crazy!” – Jack Buck
Jack Buck is another name to get used to – he’s known for his amazing sports calls. This one came during Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. LA won the first two games, but the Cardinals tied the series ahead of Game 5.
The game was in the bottom of the ninth with one out when Ozzie Smith stepped up to the plate. With no one on base and the game tied 2-2, Smith went deep for a walk-off home run. It gave the Cardinals their third-straight win and they later won Game 6 to advance to the World Series.
14. “Touch ‘em all, Joe…” – Tom Cheek
We’ve got another baseball sports call, but this one isn’t from Jack Buck or Vin Scully. Instead, this one came from Tom Cheek during Game 6 of the 1993 World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. The Blue Jays had a 3-2 series lead ahead of Game 6.
With that said, the Blue Jays were down 5-6 in the bottom of the ninth with one out and two on base. Joe Carter stepped to the plate and hit a walk-off home run, giving the Blue Jays an 8-6 win and World Series pennant. It was Carter’s first hit of the game and he made sure it counted.
13. “Maybe… Yes sir!” – Verne Lundquist
Alright, that’s enough with the baseball sports calls – let’s discuss one of the greatest golf sports calls of all-time. This one came from Verne Lundquist, who was covering the 1986 Masters Tournament. The tournament started on April 10, 1986 and concluded on April 13, 1986.
It was the year Jack Nicklaus had an incredible final nine to win his sixth Masters Tournament and became the oldest player to accomplish such. Verne Lundquist was lucky enough to call the final putt that sealed the deal for Nicklaus – one of the game’s all-time greats doing what he did best.
12. “A win for the ages…” – Jim Nantz
11 years after Jack Nicklaus’ incredible Masters win, Tiger Woods won his first ever major championship at the 1997 Masters Tournament. He was 12 shots ahead of Tom Kite, who was ironically the second place finisher behind Nicklaus in 1986. It was a dominating win for Tiger.
Despite shooting a 70 in the first round, Woods bounced back to have the best score on the second and third days of the tournament – a 66 for day two and a 65 for day three. Woods won a total of $486,000 for the win and we were all blessed with Jim Nantz and his amazing call.
11. “The band is on the field!” – Joe Starkey
Most college football fans are going to recognize this sports call – it was simply too good to leave off this list. It became known as ‘The Play’ and is still talked about to this day. It all went down on November 20, 1982 when UC Berkeley (Cal) matched up against Stanford.
Cal had the ball with no time left on the clock as they started to lateral the ball to each other – in hopes of finding a hole. That’s exactly what happened as they ran it in for a game-winning touchdown, but not before the Stanford band got in the way and almost ruined the entire play.
10. “The slipper still fits!” – Gus Johnson
Alright, we finally have a basketball call for you! This one takes us back to the 1999 March Madness Sweet Sixteen matchup between the No. 6 Florida Gators and No. 10 Gonzaga Bulldogs. Both teams were going back and forth the entire game in what was a thriller.
With less than 10 seconds left, Quentin Hall tries a game-winning floater, but it doesn’t go in. That’s when Casey Calvary came out of nowhere to tip the rebound in with just over four seconds left. Gonzaga kept their Cinderella season alive with a 73-72 win over Florida.
9. “Gets through Buckner…” – Vin Scully
Back to Vin Scully and another one of his great sports calls in the world of baseball. This one brings us back to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series between the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox. Both teams were tied 3-3 at the end of regulation, bringing the game into the 10th.
The Red Sox responded first with two runs scored in the 10th inning, giving them a comfortable 5-3 lead and three outs away from a pennant. That’s when the Mets rallied and scored three runs – capped off by this incredible call by Vin Scully due to a bad Boston defensive play.
8. “May day!” – Rick Jeanneret
Rick Jeanneret is a legendary play-by-play announcer that spent over 50 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. The 2021-22 season was his final season before retiring, capping off a legendary career that will be remembered forever – largely due to some of his best sports calls.
One of those sports calls is his ‘May Day,’ which came during Game 4 of the 1993 Division Semifinals. The game was tied 5-5 at the end of regulation, but Brad May scored the goal that gave the Sabres a sweep of the Boston Bruins. You don’t see sports calls like this anymore!
7. “A spectacular move by Michael Jordan.” – Marv Albert
We’ve had a college basketball sports call, but now let’s highlight an NBA call that will never get old. This one comes from Game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers had a 1-0 series lead, but were down five points at halftime.
That’s when Michael Jordan and the Bulls started to break away. They opened up a huge lead with a 38-point third quarter and led by 20+ points late in the fourth. That’s when MJ hit his infamous switch-hands layup that led to one of the NBA’s greatest sports calls of all-time.
6. “There’s the pass to Laettner…” – Verne Lundquist
The 1992 Elite Eight was one to remember – so much that it’s regarded as one of the greatest college basketball games ever played. It was the Duke Blue Devils who were matched up with the Kentucky Wildcats – each had a shot at the Final Four, but only one would actually advance.
Duke had a five-point lead at halftime, but the Wildcats came back and brought the game to overtime. In the overtime period, Kentucky had a one-point lead with just two seconds left on the clock. A full-court heave to Christian Laettner ends well as he hits the quick fadeaway to win it.
5. “I don’t believe what I just saw!” – Jack Buck
Remember when we were talking about Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series? Well, Vin Scully’s call of the game wasn’t the only one that went down in history. At the same time, Jack Buck was calling the game on a different network as Scully.
It goes to show how two sports announcers can create two separate legendary calls on the same play. It was the perfect way to open the 1988 World Series and was a sign of what’s to come for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won the World Series after a modest five-game series.
4. “Down goes Frazier!” – Howard Cosell
We’ve mentioned football, basketball, baseball, and even hockey – but let’s turn our focus over to boxing. On January 22, 1973, George Foreman and Joe Frazier put their undefeated records at stake for the heavyweight title. Foreman was 37-0-0 and Frazier was 29-0-0 in their careers.
From the beginning, Frazier never really stood a chance as Foreman knocked him down three times in the first round. He did the same thing in the second round before the ref stopped the fight, naming Foreman the heavyweight champion. That ‘Down goes Frazier’ line never gets old!
3. “Do you believe in miracles?” – Al Michaels
You might’ve heard about the game, you might’ve heard the Al Michaels call, or you might’ve seen the movie they made about it – either way, you’ve heard about the ‘Miracle on Ice,’ as it was dubbed. It’s a sports call that could easily be No. 1 on this list, depending on who you are.
It was the game that saw the United States defeat the Soviet Union for the gold medal in ice hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The United States’ team was made up of college athletes, while the Soviet Union were the four-time defending gold medalists – still, Team USA prevailed.
2. “The Giants win the pennant!” – Russ Hodges
We’ve got one more baseball call for you and this one comes from Russ Hodges during a matchup between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants on October 3, 1951. Both teams were tied in the NL pennant race thanks to the Giants winning 37 of their last 44 games.
It was an incredible game that saw the Dodgers up 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth. The Giants scored one run to bring the deficit down to two and that’s when Bobby Thomson stepped up to the plate. He hit a three-run, walk-off home run with one out to give the Giants the NL pennant.
1. “Havlicek stole the ball!” – Johnny Most
To top things off, we have one final NBA call to highlight. This one comes from Johnny Most during Game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Division Finals between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. With the series tied 3-3, both teams were one win away from an NBA Finals appearance.
The Celtics took a nine-point lead in the first quarter, but the 76ers took a one-point lead at half. Boston pulled away again, taking an eight-point lead into the final quarter. They were outscored by seven points in that quarter, but a late steal by John Havlicek sealed the game for Boston.
The Celtics went on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals that season as Bill Russell and company continued their dominance.
The Craziest Sports Calls Are the Best Sports Calls
For every single game, no matter the sport, there are several types of fans – the thousands that are in attendance watching live, the millions that tune in at home or work, and the ones that catch the highlights after the game. We can all agree that there’s benefits to being each fan.
One of the benefits of watching at home or at work is you get the opportunity to witness sports calls – like the ones listed above – as they happen. And when they happen, it’s something you remember forever. It’s not the same as being live at the stadium, but it’s the next best thing.
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Of course, we only went over 20 of the best sports calls of all-time. There are hundreds of sports calls that are worth mentioning here and we can go on for days about some of our favorites. Now we’d like to know – what are some of your favorite sports calls of all-time?
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