To have one of the greatest calls of all-time, a play-by-player needs timing above all else. The person needs the skills, but right place and right time tops all else.
So there are technically great calls nightly, but if it is just in a regular-season game, they go unnoticed in history. It has to be iconic, like the way everything came together in The Post’s No. 1 call of all-time, Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
In compiling our Top 10, we focused on mostly national, except at the No. 10 spot, where we went with a local Rangers call, though it probably would not make lists outside of New York.
The NFL, surprisingly, hasn’t lent itself to memorable calls and there is only one football one on our list. Ultimately, we decided on what are the most iconic calls.
1. “Do You believe in Miracles? Yes!” in the 1980 Olympics by Al Michaels
Michaels’ words were stamped into the American lexicon forever thereafter.
2. “The Giants win the pennant” in 1951 by Russ Hodges
Hodges described Bobby Thomson’s homer with utter joy.
3. “Down Goes Frazier!” in 1973 by Howard Cosell
Under review, this call was not great, but it is a classic.
4. “I don’t believe what I just saw!” in 1987 by Jack Buck
Buck’s call is far superior to Cosell’s, but Cosell’s has become more iconic. Buck beat out Vin Scully’s excellent TV call.
5. “Gets through Buckner” in 1986 by Vin Scully
Scully hit the call perfectly, then got out of the way.
6. “Havlicek stole the ball” in 1965 by Johnny Most
The pure excitement of Most’s homerism brought this call to life.
7. “The Band is on the Field” in 1982 by Joe Starkey
This is the greatest football call ever as the play in the Stanford-Cal rivalry was unbelievable.
8. “In your life …” In 2005 by Verne Lundquist
Jim Nantz has been CBS’ lead golf announcer, but his teammate Verne Lundquist had the two greatest golf calls of all-time. This one and his “Maybe … Yes, sir” on Jack Nicklaus’ exclamation at the ‘86 Masters.
9. “A spectacular move by Michael Jordan” in 1991 by Marv Albert
The greatest NBA play-by-player and perhaps the greatest player together on a masterpiece. Albert’s “Here comes Willis,” just missed the Top 10.
10. “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!” in 1994 by Howie Rose
This 10-spot could go a lot of places, and I’m reserving it for this New York classic.