Jun 17, 2009

New York Giants Broadcaster: Russ Hodges "The Giants Win the Penannt"

NY Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges made the legendary call for the baseballs most famous home run. Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard round the world” in the bottom of the 9th inning of the 1951 NL Playoff at the Polo Grounds.

“Hartung down the line at third, not taking any chances. Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he'll be running like the wind if Thomson hits one. Branca throws. There's a long drive. It's gonna be, I believe -- The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant! And they're going crazy! They're going crazy! Oh-ho!”

Legend has it, the only reason the broadcast exists is because a Dodger fan began recording the last inning to hear the Giants announcer Hodges, "cry" after the last Giants lost. Hodges said the next day the fan called him and said “you have to have this tape” and mailed it to him. It has since become one of the most famous calls in baseball history.
Russell Patrick Hodges, (no relation to Gil) was born in Dayton, Tennessee on June 18, 1910. He began his broadcasting career in 1939 bouncing around with the Cubs, Senators & Reds. In the 1940s the NY Giants & the A.L. NY team shared the same broadcast team, covering just home games. Hodges landed the job alongside Mel Allen. By 1949 he was strictly a Giants broadcaster and would call the Thomson home run in 1951, the 1954 World Series Championship, and the last season at the Polo Grounds in 1957. He moved with the Giants to the West Coast and called the 1962 World Series as well. After 13 seasons in San Francisco he retired in 1970 . His signature home run call was “Bye Bye Baby” as the Giants theme song played behind him.

Hodges also called many boxing bouts covering such greats as Jake Lamotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson, Joe Louis & the famous Ali vs. Sonny Liston bout in 1965. In 1971 he died of a sudden heart attack in Mill Valley California, he was 61 years old. Hodges is in the Baseball Hall of Fame & Sports writers Hall of Fame. The Giants broadcast booth is named after him & long time partner Lon Simmons.

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