SPORTS ON NY RADIO by David Halberstam; Encarta Dictionary

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Tue Sep 21 08:16:30 UTC 1999

By David J. Halberstam
(Halberstam was the radio announcer of the Miami Heat and has long worked St.
John's college basketball in the New York area--ed)
Masters Press, NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 1999
424 pages hardcover, $24.95

Pg. VI  Red was Red (Barber--ed.).  He insisted upon pronouncing _Los
Angeles_ with a hard _G_, the Hispanic way.  ("Los Angeles" is not in

Pg. 21  (Sam--ed.) Taub was the first to incorporate the lingo of the fight
scribes and the pugilists themselves.  "The third man in the ring."  "He
crowned him into the ropes."  "He lunges out with a long right high to his
head."  Some also credit Taub with the phrase "an overhand right uppercut."
Others attribute it to McNamee.

Pg. 39  He (Bill Munday) used descriptions never heard before, referring to
the end zone as the "land of milk and honey" or "the promised land," phrases
still popular today.

Pg. 65  Yet it was that very first night that he (Foster Hewitt on March 23,
1923--ed.) blurted out in his falsetto, "he shoots, he scores."  It would
turn out to be the legend's trademark call forever. (...)  New York's first
true basketball broadcaster, Marty Glickman, has said that the geography
Hewitt gave hockey on radio offered great illumination on his approach to the
game on the hardwood.  Terms such as "along the boards," "crosses the blue
line," or "moves it into the Leafs' zone," all had basketball equivalents
that helped steer Glickman in developing the nomenclature for his
groundbreaking basketball work.

Pg. 79 (Marv--ed.) Albert's patented line in hockey usually followed a flurry
and a great save by the goalie.  With typical Albert flair, it was "stick
save and a beauty!"

Pg. 107 (Les--ed.) Keiter's stock line for most touchdown runs was "5,"
pause, "4," pause, "3," pause, "2," pause, "1," pause, "touchdown!"  THose
last five yards took forever to let Keiter squeeze every last second of drama
from it.  Another Keiterism was, "He zigged when he should have zagged.  And
he zagged when he should have zigged."

Pg. 110  If Mel Allen's classic home-run description was "going, going,
gone," Marty's (Glickman--ed.) field-goal call was his stamp on the
broadcast.  "It's high enough, it's deep enough, it's through there, it's
through there!"

Pg. 202  Keiter created a whole vocabulary for basketball.  Briefly, they are:
_Tickling the twine_.....Marty Glickman's version of "swish," no iron
_Ring-tailed off-balance last-second shot
_The arithmetic reads_..the score of the game
_In the the bucket_..a shot launched that was good
_In-again-out-again-Finnegan_..a shot that agonizingly falls out after it's
halfway in

Pg. 220  The one basketball line he (John Sterling--ed.) used was "bull's
eye."  Jim karvellas must have bristled when he heard it.  Sterling traced
his roots through Baltimore, where he did some color for Jim on Bullets
broadcasts.  Karvo was the first to popularize "bull's eye."

Pg. 230  The profile also raved about his (Arch McDonald's--ed.) colorful
descriptions: "two dead birds" for a double play or "ducks on the pond" for
base runners.

Pg. 232  Red (Barber--ed.) introduced his New York constituency to homespun
Southern idioms never heard before in the big metropolis.  _Newsweek_ printed
just a few of them in 1945:
_Sitting in the catbird seat_.......everything is going your way
_I'll be a suck-egg mule_...........Red is pretty concerned
_A can 'a easy-to-catch fly ball
_F.O.B_...................................the bases are full of Brooklyns
_The bottom of the pickle vat_....the Bums are in bad trouble

Pg. 243  Vin's (Sully--ed.) occasional home run call "forget it" was born in
Brooklyn.  "I picked up 'forget it' from the players themselves around the
batting cage.  If a guy gets what they judge to be a base hit, he gets
another chance.  Naturally, there's a lot of arguing as to whether it would
have been a hit since there are no infielders during batting practice.  But
when it's a home run, they just say, 'forget it.'"  The signature caught on.
Bert Lee would imitate his "forget it" call on pre- and postgame shows over
WMGM.  (Could this be the birth of FORGEDDABOUTIT?--ed.)

Pg. 246  It was (Arch--ed.) McDonald, the true original "voice of the
Yankees," who dubbed Joe DiMaggio the "Yankee Clipper," not Mel Allen.  He
also came up with other catchy phrases such as "right down Broadway" (a pitch
right over the plate) and "the ducks are on the pond" (men on base).

Pg. 251  "'How about that!' originated in 1949 just after Joe DiMaggio missed
65 games.  When he came back he hit four home runs in three days.  Fans were
(Pg. 252) hysterical and I couldn't help showing enthusiasm as they began to
climb.  It was during those excitingh afternoons that I would cry, 'How about
that!'"  He elaborated, "I did this without the slightest premeditiation.  It
was just a natural impulse."
     The other (Mel--ed.) Allen expression, "going, going, gone," also
emerged naturally.  In 1946, when a ball kept carrying at Yankee Stadium, "I
just kept saying, it's going, going, as the ball sailed out of sight."

Pg. 261  ...(Jerry--ed.) Coleman's exclamation "Oh, Doctor" didn't seem to
ruffle partner Barber, who made it famous long before Jerry ever put on
big-league cleats.

Pg. 272  The games were on WABC and there were those who felt his (Frank
Messer-ed.) home-run call was a reach, "A. B. C. you later!"

Pg. 287 It was the year (1954--ed.) that (Ross--ed.) Hodges authored his
home-run call, "bye-bye baby."  The signature call later became quite popular
in San Francisci.  "It's a battle cry which any western follower of the
Giants instantly recognizes and now we even have a song based on it," Hodges
said in his 1963 book, _My Giants_.  "But New Yorkers never adopted it.  To
them, it was just another pet expression by a sports announcer."

(Halberstam doesn't mention the New Jersey Nets' Bill Raftery, who uses "kiss
off the glass" and "send it in!"  In the last chapter, Halberstam mentions
his own fate.  The player John Crotty attended the University of Virginia,
which was founded by Thomas Jefferson.  Halberstam said that "Jefferson would
have been proud of that pass by Crotty.  Basketball wasn't invented at the
time of President Jefferson but those slaves on his farm, I'm sure they would
have made good basketball players."  Halberstam apologized for the comment,
but was fined $2,500 and later fired.  On Pg. 337:  "Unfortunately, there's a
double standard set for radio broadcasters.  Talk-show hosts get away with
virtually any flagrant remark and it's just brushed off as shock radio.  Yet
should a play-by-play person digress in an untraditional manner it's decried
as having gone above the line.")

_Author_                                                   _Phrase_
Mel Allen............."It's going, going, gone!" signature home-run call
Marv Albert.........."Yesss!" for a made Knicks basket
Mel Allen............."How about that!" anything astonishing
Phil Rizzuto........."Holy Cow!" anything from Roger Maris's 61st home run to
traffic on the George Washington Bridge
Marty Glickman...."Swish!" a shot that went right through the cords without
hitting iron
Bob Murphy........."We'll be back with the happy recap" going into a
commercial break after a Mets win
Marty Glickman...."It's Nedicks!" a basket by the home team
(Nedick's sponsored broadcasts)
Marty Glickman...."It's high enough, it's deep enough, it's through there!" a
made field goal on the gridiron
Les Keiter............"In again, out again, finningan (sic)" a shot on the
hardwood that pin-balled in and out
Marv Albert.........."Kick save and a beauty!" great save by the goalie in


    As expected, I found it in an article about Pete Rose, "Will Pete Rose
Ever Grow Up?", ESQUIRE, October 1974, pg. 211, col. 1:

     Pete Rose rarely does anything half-ass.  As he puts it, he always gives
"one hundred ten percent."


     Two books by Allan Metcalf are on the shelves of the local Border's
bookstore: AMERICA IN SO MANY WORDS (paperback edition) and, if I remember
the title correctly, THE WORLD IN SO MANY WORDS.
     NEW YORK: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY should be out in a week or two.  Ric
Burns got a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities for his
documentary, but the grant luckily doesn't require him to respond to humans.
     The ENCARTA WORLD ENGLISH DICTIONARY is out.  Anne Soukhanov and John
Ayto and Sol Steinmetz (and Lynne Murphy?) are associated with the project,
but it's astonishingly weak on Americanisms and etymology.  Bill Gates is
almost a trillionaire, I've never made a single penny, yet I have to endure

BIG APPLE _n._  informal name for New York City (From APPLE, used by jazz
musicians to mean "job," and the fact that New York was the most sought-after
place to have a job or engagement)

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