I’m an obsessive sports fan, with a few odd habits. For example, I watch most Indians, Cavaliers, and Browns games on TV… on mute. I’ve always found TV announcers to be too minimalist, and radio personalities to be much more exciting. On TV, I watch a baseball fly over the wall and think, “oh, that baseball just went over the wall for a home run.” But on the radio, “that ball is waaaay back there, and gone!” Much more exciting! So, as a tribute to the many calls I’ve heard over the years, here’s my favorite call for each Cleveland radio announcer:
Tom Hamilton, Cleveland Indians: Tyler Naquin’s Walk-Off Inside-the-Park Home Run
Many Indians fans would choose Rajai Davis’ home run in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series here, but in my opinion, it was just like any other Tom Hamilton home run call. The only difference was the moment in which the call was made, which I do not believe should have any bearing on anyone’s judgement of the call. Naquin’s inside-the-parker was truly special due to Hamilton needing to keep up the energy and suspense during Naquin’s trip around the bases; nobody knew whether Naquin would actually make it until he dove headfirst into home plate.
John Michael, Cleveland Cavaliers: The Shot, Kyrie Irving
I went back and listened to all of my memorable moment selections again (no, they are unfortunately not seared into my memory), and the urgency of Michael’s voice is palpable. Additionally, I have always enjoyed Michael’s running commentary in the most intense moments. Michael might always seem a half-second behind, but the lag just works to provide an eerie sensation that is soothingly suspenseful. While other announcers on this list might be rendered speechless after a major moment, Michael’s excitement always shines through.
This season, Michael has been replaced by Tim Alcorn as he transitions to the TV booth following the death of Fred McLeod. I haven’t heard much of Alcorn yet, but his accidentally calling the Celtics’ Brad Wannamaker “Brad Wannabe” tops the list so far.
Jim Donovan, Cleveland Browns: “Chubba Wubba Hubb!”
To be honest, I had no idea how to spell out this call, which in a way gives insight into its spontaneity. Unlike the other calls on this list, Donovan did not use any of his trademark lines in an unexpected moment, rather opting for a line made up in the moment. This gives Donovan’s call a sense of authenticity unseen in other calls. On another note, when watching replays I noticed that Donovan is the only announcer who stands when working the game. The man has some iconic hand gestures.