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Do you Remember These Sportscasters by Their Catch-Phrases?

Updated on November 5, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a natural-born southerner and grew up his entire life in the south where he has resided now for 63 years in Hamilton, Al.,

is best-remembered for his catch-phrase, "Tyson's in serious trouble," when Buster Douglas scored a knock-out in this widely- popular boxing match.
is best-remembered for his catch-phrase, "Tyson's in serious trouble," when Buster Douglas scored a knock-out in this widely- popular boxing match.

What are great sporting events such as the Super Bowl, Summer Olympics and Monday Night Football without those "talents in the booth," the men (and women) who give life to sports, the sportscasters? Dull, bland and easily-forgotten.

Not everyone, not even former professional athletes can "cut it" as sportscasters, both on and off the air. Do not ask me, for I have never had the pleasure of "calling" a game, or giving color analysis while a game is being played. In short, I don't know.

Sportscasters, like pro athlete's are a special breed of superstars in their own right with their own style of broadcasting, speech tone and favorite catch-phrases. Listen sometime to an NFL game and hear Al Michaels blend-in a few gems like, "he really took that hard," when an imposing 300-pound linebacker from the Chicago Bears "levels" the opposing quarterback from the Tennessee Titans and. Michaels, like all talented sportscasters and color persons, give "that certain something," to the game.

Here are only a few of "my" favorite sportscasters and their famous catch-phrases.

Jim Lampley of HBO Sports called the monumental-upset of then-Boxing Heavyweight Champion, Mike Tyson, by truly-underdog, Buster Douglas as in the eighth-round, Douglas stunned Tyson with a stiff "right" and sent him reeling toward the ropes. Lampley "painted" the historical-moment with, "Tyson's in serious trouble," and with that one phrase, Lampley is forever linked to Tyson's shocking defeat as well as the sport of boxing as well.

Keith Jackson or commonly known as the "Dean of sportscasters," has covered it all. College football, pro football, and some Olympics. Jackson's unmistakable voice sets him apart from all other sportscasters. Jackson's voice says, "I can be trusted." And he is. I prefer his comment late in the 1992 Sugar Bowl when underdog, the Crimson Tide of Alabama handily-defeated Gino Torretta's Miami Hurricanes for the National Championship. Bama used a running play in the final minutes to "seal the deal," winning by a score of 34-13. Jackson "nailed" it with, "and with three minutes, forty-nine seconds left, I think we just heard the back door slamming," and made the game all the more interesting.

Harry Caray the "voice" of The Chicago Cubs for decades was famous for his "Holy Cow," remark when a Cubbie hit a homer or scored. Caray was loved and respected by every Cub fan.

Mel Allen also a baseball announcer had one phrase that every baseball fan alive can readily-remember, "how about that?"

Howard Cosell was so versatile that he could help call an NFL Monday Night Football game with Don "Dandy Don" Meredith, Dallas Cowboys quarterback-turned-announcer and New York (football) Giants legend and husband of Kathy Lee Gifford, Frank Gifford and still work a boxing match the next night without missing a beat. His most-famous remark came when Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fought in Manila for the title in a fight called, "The Thrilla in Manila." Sometime toward the middle of the fight, Ali landed a solid left hook to Frazier's chin and Cosell wrote his own history by spewing, "Frazier goes down! Frazier goes down!" I miss Cosell. Some.

Speaking of Don Meredith. In his first few games that he called, audiences heard how tough it was on him to see his beloved Cowboys lose to some underrated team as Meredith's biased opinions would surface and he would cry, "dadgum it, Cowboys! Score!" That was honest and more fun than listening to Howard Cosell's rantings about racism and politics being found in the locker rooms of hockey players in New York City.

And there are more. I just didn't have the mental toughness to do an in-depth search of all of the famous sportscasters and their "golden" lines.

A few more not-so-famous sportscasters and their forgotten lines are . . .

Mike Hogwood who worked at a local ABC affiliate, WBRC-TV, Channel 6, Birmingham as sports director. His catch-phrase to a baseball highlight of a player hitting a home run was, "kiss that baby goodbye." Hogwood went on to work for some obscure sports network that covered sports related to swamps in Florida. Not a glamorous gig.

Ron Grillo who also worked for a time at WBRC-TV, was such a humble man, that when he would give the sports news on weekends that his compassion would show through especially when an SEC football team would be beaten by a lesser-team. Grillo would ease-in his personal remorse at the loss by saying, "and the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi sorta "got by" Vince Dooley's bulldogs of Georgia, by a score of 45-10." He is no longer employed at WBRC.

Jack Crystal was "the voice," years ago of the SEC's Mississippi State Bulldogs. Crystal would pick-out a favorite player and it was obvious that he would give that player more props than the rest of the team. One season I happen to hear him say, "Lewis Grubbs hits left tackle for one yard." "Grubbs off right tackle for two yards." and "Whooaaa, Grubbs is 'wrestled down' for a one-yard loss." Truth is, Grubbs was 'pounded' like a bass drum and taken off the field. Jack Crystal was whom the term, "homer," was designed for. A "homer" only gives the home team positive comments.

Keith Davis a virtual-unknown sports director for WOWL-TV, Florence, Alabama, in 1991, would not find it in himself to say on the air that the Lions of The University of North Alabama, were "outclassed" in one particular game. Davis kept his fans happy by saying, "the Lions are sure giving it all they got--lotta heart," each time the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, would score another easy touchdown.

Doug Layton was a beloved-sportscaster for The University of Alabama before Eli Gold and Kenny "The Snake" Stabler came along. Layton could "give" Bama's opponents a pat on the back with no problem, but when Bama beat Notre Dame in the late 80's, Layton's enthusiasm couldn't be bridled as he said as the seconds ticked off, "In what some sportswriters said was an 'uphill climb,' the Crimson Tide of Alabama has proven to the Irish just what SEC football is all about."

Herb Winches was once a "local favorite," among Birmingham, Alabama sportscasters and sports directors. What Layton and other "homers" did for the home team, Winches would sometimes overdo his on-the-air goodwill remarks for the out-of-state team playing against Auburn of Alabama. For instance. "those guys from Ole Miss sure know how to run the ball. No doubt about that." And this one, "the Auburn Tigers could sure take a lesson from the Florida Gators on ball-control," but it kept him employed for many years in Birmingham television and radio sports.

I have but a few closing remarks.

I wonder how it would work if "I" were so rich that I could buy CBS, ABC or NBC and have my own sportscasters who were honest to a fault call every pro and college sporting event?

And "my" sportscasters could be like Howard "Tell it like it is" Stern when they saw a player fumble, "What an idiot! Did you see that clumsy player try to run and hold the ball at the same time?"

Tickets would sell. And my ratings would surely soar, but with the good, I see the bad too. I could no longer visit my local Huddle House restaurant and enjoy an evening of relaxation, good talk and good food.

Not with my fifteen bodyguards lurking around me.

Keith Olbermann, formerly of ESPN

knows the value of a catch-phrase. His was, "what a game!"
knows the value of a catch-phrase. His was, "what a game!"

© 2012 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 10 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Kathleen!

      I like the Dawgs due to Kirby Smart coming from Bama. He will go far there. I can promise you this.

      I do not dislike the Dawgs or Georgia fans. I do dislike fans and coaches of Auburn. When coach Shug Jourdan was there, the team and staff were humble-hearted in defeat and victory.

      But when Pat Dye took over, that all changed. And had grew worse as the years go by. I cannot pinpoint why arrogance has to be placed in a prominent place, but it does with them.

      Enough of my soapbox.

      Take care and say hi to the good folks in Atlanta.

      Write me anytime.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 10 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Of all the SEC I hate (and we are known for our hatred of each other - as Cousin Lewis said, 'They ain't serious as us!" in reference to other conferences - I hate Alabama the least. Probably because we don't play them every year. And I love to watch the Tide roll over everybody outside the SEC. Though I did cheer for Clemson this year in the championship game. My father-in-law went there. Blood's thicker . . .

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 10 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, Kathleen,

      I loved your comment. Especially the Munson reference and St. Peter. And I think that this happened. Who am I to disagree?

      I know that you love the Dawgs, but have you heard the Alabama broadcaster, Eli Gold? He is well-known for "Toucchhh---dowwwwnnnnnn, Alllaaa-bama!" I did an interview with him toward the end of my career at our local newspaper and he is as personable and humble in person as he is on the air.

      I used to make my buddies laugh with my impression of Eli, but I do not do that much anymore.

      Oh, and thanks for the mention of one of my favorite writers, Lewis Grizzard, arguably THE most devoted Dawg fan of all-time. He was even buried in his red blazer and his coffin was a Georgia red. Was this true?

      I loved his after-dinner talks which I listen to on YouTube.

      I should go on. I have taken up too much of your time.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 10 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Ricky,

      Thanks so much for your interesting comment, and yes, broadcasting is a very challenging field. This is why I produced this piece just to honor those faces and voices we seldom see.

      Write me anytime.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 11 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thank you for including the legendary Larry Munson. I remember sitting in the student section at GEORGIA (not to be confused with some place a marketing student tried to rename UGA) watching the game live, but listening to Larry on the radio. "How about them DAWGS?" should be on his tombstone. And BTW, that question doesn't work with any other noun!

      In his later years he was known to call a play by saying "Our guy tackled their guy" because he couldn't keep track of the player list - but we loved him to the very end. I'm sure when he got to the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter asked him, "How about them DAWGS?"

      (And you know what our cousin, Lewis, used to say about football outside the SEC. "They ain't serious as us." RIP L. Grizzard

    • profile image

      Ricky John 17 months ago

      Hi,

      Thanks for sharing this information. www.makeforsure.com that you information have helped me a lot.

      Broadcasting is a challenging and competitive field, but at the same time, it can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Learn about http://www.makeforsure.com/blog/broadcasting-and-t... and it types And be sure that you will have a great career ahead.

      Regards,

      Ricky John

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Debra, Thank you, dear friend, for your warm comments. Nowadays, my friend, I only like SEC football. That's it. But that's enough.

      Be good and God bless you, Debra.

      Kenneth

    • profile image

      Debra Emerson 5 years ago

      I was so into sports, and I like the sportscasters and how they call the game. Your hub was very good.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Susan,

      honestly, I do like college football, especially SEC conference, the one where I live, but the rest of the sports, I am like you. Not into them. I may publish a hub on MY sports catch phrases. Later, when people are conditioned to read them. LOL.

      Thanks for the comment and appreciated-votes.

      Kenneth :)

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      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Kenneth,

      I am not into sports at all but I would pay to hear your catch phrases.

      I hope you are having a good day. :)

      Voted up and awesome.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Skarlet,

      I can too. And that one phrase will go with me to my life in the hereafter. What a night for boxing. And Buster Douglas. I never knew that you were a sports fan. Wow. Ive learned something about one of my favorite followers today. Thank you, Father.

      Kenneth

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      MsDora,

      A sincere thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. Costas IS very intelligent and it shows in his speech, but in Cosell's case, there is such a thing as being TOO intelligent. Don't think I have to worry about either.

      Thanks again, dear MsDora!

      Kenneth

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Brilliant! Very creative and interesting hub.

      I actually can still hear Lampley saying "Tyson is in serious trouble." Many of these names I am unfamiliar with, and I always appreciate being introduced to things, or people I did not know about.

      There will never be another Cosell. His voice and mannerisms were all his own.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great job! Bob Costas is my favorite, not that I know many of the others. Basketball is the only game I've watched seriously. Anyway, although Costas did not make your hall-mark list, I'm glad that you recognized his intelligence. I enjoyed your information on the others.