On calling Kirk Gibson’s home run (which you can see in the video above) in the 1988 World Series:
I don’t know where it came from, but out came a line that later on I thought only could’ve come from The Boss. That line, ‘In a year of the improbable, the impossible has happened’—which, I must admit, is a pretty good line—it just totally came out of nowhere. My heart, that’s where it came from, and God helped me out.
On calling game one of the 1953 World Series at the age of 25, making him the youngest ever to call a World Series:
So the morning of the first game—and they were all day games back then—I was living at home with my mother and father and sister. And for my mother, a typical Irish mother, breakfast was the most important meal of the day. So we had the whole thing—the orange juice, the bacon and eggs, the toast. Everything was fine, but when I went upstairs I threw everything up. Because I’d only ever done just a little tiny bit of television and all of a sudden I’m going to be working with the great [Yankees announcer] Mel Allen.
On calling Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series:
Anyway, it was just, ‘Foul ball, ball two,’ because we were intimidated by the idea we were talking too much. So I can’t watch it. I was just so dull professionally, and so different from what I would’ve done under the same circumstances today. I’ve never watched it again. Never.
On calling Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965.
That was just one of those nights, and I’ll be honest, it was pretty well done on my part, but I lucked out. It’s kinda like Sandy pitching a perfect game—everything has to happen and that particular night it was pretty good. It could’ve been another night where I was stepping on my tongue and all that stuff. I just always thought God helped me through that, and I’m glad for Sandy. That’s all.
On calling Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run:
And so the biggest thing, when the ball was hit, was that I got this tremendous rush of goosebumps for this marvelous accomplishment, and the place went bananas, I mean just crazy. So I didn’t want to say anything; the crowd noise to me was like a symphony, and I took the headset off and I walked to the back of the booth. I stood back there and just watched it, and loved listening. There I was, the eight-year old boy—I was under the radio again, just listening to this crowd. When I came back again, I just said what I felt, and what I felt was that it was great for Henry and his family; it was great for the team and the city and the state. But eventually, my mind kept saying, This is bigger than that. This is huge. This is a great sociological thing because a black man is being honored in the Deep South. I mean you’ve got yourself a monumental moment. So all of that came out. That was it. When Henry hit the home run, I guarantee you that’s the longest uninterrupted crowd noise, maybe in the history of sports because there was nothing else to say. Everybody tuning in knew where he was, what happened, what it meant. There was nothing else to say—just that roar of the crowd.
Outstanding stuff. It’s hard to read those quotes without having a smile on your face.