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New York Yankees: John Sterling’s 5 worst home run calls

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If you are a fan of the New York Yankees and live in the New York Metropolitan area, you have probably gotten the chance to experience listening to John Sterling call one of their games on the radio. Well, I am a Yankees fan and live in New Jersey, so I have gotten my fair share of listening to Sterling. And that is not exactly the greatest thing in the world.

Sterling has been calling Yankees games on the radio since 1989 and has not missed a single game in that time. So it is safe to say the job is his until he decides to retire. Unfortunately for myself and Yankees fans, we have to listen to him call games while doing some of the following: Complaining about a late game and traveling, not actually paying attention to the game and repeating something Suzyn Waldman, his color commentator, just said, and of course his famous home run calls.

Sterling’s claim to fame is the fact that he has a unique, and different home run call for each and every player when they hit a home run. So whenever the Yankees add a new player, there is always the discussion of what will their home run call be?

But this is not because the home run calls are any good. It is quite the opposite actually, as most of them are just super corny and just funny. So with the introduction of several young Yankees recently, including Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, it prompted a thought. What are some of Sterling’s worst home run calls? Without any further ado, here is a list of five of Sterling’s most ridiculous home run calls.

Honorable Mention – The classic Sterling home run setup for a non-home run

“IT IS HIGH! IT IS FAR! IT. IS ….. foul/off the wall/caught on the warning track.”

Any time Sterling gets excited and starts with the infamous “It is high…” I am not buying in. It feels like whenever he starts the call, it is only a 50/50 shot it turns out to actually be a home run. He just gets excited about a deep fly ball, and it tends to backfire on him.

And as someone listening on the radio, I cannot see it for myself, so I can not gauge if I feel it will go. But given Sterling’s track record, I am not convinced it is a home run until I hear the word “GONE!”. And every so often, even that turns out to be wrong! Then let’s not forget the times he does not get excited, and it turns out to be a homer anyways.

It is not an official home run call, so it does not make the list. But it is a Sterling staple that needed to be mentioned, as it is almost as famous as the home run calls themselves!

5) Dean Anna

“Anna is on the Dean’s list.”

Dean Anna is a second baseman/shortstop who served as a utility type player for the Yankees in 2014. He is not a power hitter by any means, but he did hit one long ball with the Bronx Bombers. And with that dinger came this gem of a line from Sterling.

It is typical Sterling using both the first and last name of the player in such a corny fashion. John thought his Dean’s list line was clever, but it is simply just comical. I happened to be listening to the game on the radio when Anna hit his only Major League home run, and I could not help but laugh when Sterling let out that line.

I am glad it was Anna’s only home run in pinstripes, as it saved Yankees fans from having to hear Sterling say this line again. Anna now finds himself in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

4) Garrett Jones/Andruw Jones

“Jones leaves his garrett. He’s keeping up with the Joneses!”

“Andruw Jones makes his bones/ Merry Andruw. He’s keeping up with the JonesesĀ “

Andruw Jones played for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, hitting a combined 27 home runs in a Yankees uniform, while Garrett hit five in 2015. Both men are currently playing in Japan, with Garrett the more likely of the two to possibly return to MLB in the future.

These two needed to be included on the list for the mere fact that Sterling got lazy. While he made sure each player’s first name in their respective calls, the end part was only recycled. So it is safe to assume anytime a player with the last name of Jones comes to the Yankees, he will be keeping up with the Joneses if he goes yard.

How that relates to hitting a home run beats me, but I guess it was just too convenient for Sterling. How about a little more creativity John? And then let’s add in the fact that the beginning of each call is equally head scratching. I have no idea what he was going for with any of those lines. I am assuming they are a play on words for some cliche, but not one that connects with this Yankees fan.

So next time a player named Jones wears a Yankees’ uniform, can we see some improvement on the home run call? Please?

3) Eric Hinske

“Hinske with your best shot.”

Eric Hinske played for the New York Yankees in the later part of 2009, launching seven long balls over the fence. He is now into coaching, serving as the assistant hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs.

This home run call is a clear play off the phrase “hit me with your best shot”. But instead of “hit me”, we get “Hinske”. You see what John did there? So clever, right? Not really.

This one just falls flat. It is a quick line that does not signify a home run in my opinion. It is the type of line I could see Sterling using after any hit Hinske had, which makes it feel less special. And given these home run calls are his signature, they should be special. Luckily for Yankees’ fans, we only had Hinske on the roster for about half a season, and this home run call was retired after seven bombs.

2) Kelly Johnson

“Aw… Kelly killed it!”

Kelly Johnson, currently playing for the New York Mets, hit six home runs for the Yankees back in 2014. Johnson is the prototypical utility man and has bounced around from team to team in his career. So there is still the chance Johnson could find his way back to the Bronx at some point in time.

As far as the home run call, talk about one that Sterling gave two seconds of thought to while he was sitting at a booth in a restaurant. He probably got word of Johnson joining the team while out to eat and just jotted down the first thing he thought of on a napkin. And that is how Kelly Johnson’s home run call was born! Not really, but it sure seems like it.

I mean this may be the weakest of all of Sterling’s calls. Kelly killed it. That is it. I mean come on now. John you are telling me the best you could do with the name Kelly was pair it with another word that started with a K? The lack of thought into this one is what earns it a spot near the top of this list. Once again though, Yankee fans only needed to hear this call for about half a season. Hopefully Johnson stays away from the Yankees the rest of his career. But if he does come back, let’s hope John gives his home run call a little more effort.

1) Yangervis Solarte

“Never nervous Yangervis. Solarte, woh, woh… Solarte, woh, woh, woh”

Yangervis Solarte is a third baseman who played for the Yankees in 2014 as well, hitting six home runs, just like Johnson. He now finds himself on the San Diego Padres. So like Johnson, his days with the Yankees cannot be listed as officially over just yet as he could always make a return.

As far as the home run call, I do not know where to start. And that is simply because I have zero ideas what Sterling was even going for. It sounds like a bunch of gibberish to me. Why does it matter if he is never nervous? And why are there so many woh’s?

This one needs to top the list as it is the most out there and confusing of all of Sterling’s calls. To this day I am not sure what any of this means, nor do I want to know. But it will go down as one of Sterling’s most ridiculous home run calls of all time. We only needed to hear it six times thankfully, and I was unlucky enough to hear most of them on the radio live. Solarte all I ask of you is to stay away from the Yankees the rest of your career, as this line does not deserve a comeback.

Now these are only five of Sterling’s home run calls. There are plenty of options that could have made this list. You can view a full list of his home run calls here and see which ones make you scratch your head the most. So while I cannot comment on many other baseball radio broadcasters, I can say Jon Sterling is not the greatest. He provides a good laugh now and then, but will also drive you crazy.

Which is your top pick for Sterling’s worst home run call? Tell us in the comments!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com