Philly sports calls to remember
Meghan Montemurro, who covers the Phillies for The Athletic, recently convened a group of 10 radio and TV sports announcers. The broadcasters included guys like Merrill Reese (Eagles), Marc Zumoff (Sixers) and Jim Jackson (Flyers). Reading Montemurro’s piece, I wondered how fast someone would bring up the late Gene Hart’s call in the 1974 Stanley Cup Final.
And, yep, there it was, when Reese talked about his favorite all-time calls. To me, it will always be No. 1, even if I live to see multiple world championships in Philadelphia’s future. The 1973-74 Flyers, aka Broad Street Bullies, were my first sports love, and there’s nothing like your first.
‘The Flyers win the Stanley Cup!’
Just listening to Hart’s call once again as the final seconds ticked away in Game 6 of the series against the Bruins sends chills up my spine. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers have won the Stanley Cup!”
In that moment, you can tell Hart is as much a fan as he is the voice of the Flyers. The passion is real. It’s as if Hart can’t believe these underdogs actually did it. And they were underdogs – Boston, loaded with future Hall of Famers, was a heavy favorite in the series. In the background, the crowd screams so loud you think they’ll blow the roof off the Spectrum.
‘Nine second left. Eagles by eight.’
My second favorite call is Reese’s broadcast at the end of Super Bowl 52. I didn’t hear it in real time, unfortunately. It never occurred to me to mute the TV and listen to the radio while the game was on. If you did, smart move.
“Nine seconds left. Eagles by eight. … (Brady) stumbles, he’s throwing it, deep in the end zone, it is batted around. And incomplete. And the game is over! The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions! Eagles fans everywhere, this is for you. Let the celebration begin!’
Beside Reese, his broadcast partner, Mike Quick, yells, “There’s going to be a parade on Broad Street!”
Practically in a tie with No. 2, my third favorite is the late Harry Kalas’ 2008 call in Game 6 of the 2008 World Series: “Swing and a miss! Struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 world champions of baseball!”
I like the “world champions of baseball” part. It sounds more old-fashioned, like what Red Barber would’ve said.
Boy, I miss Harry.