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Recalling Epic Moments of Sports

By Heller, Dick | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Recalling Epic Moments of Sports


Heller, Dick, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


"And the Crowd Goes Wild" by Joe Garner (Sourcebooks Inc.), $49.95, 178 pages

"It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings" by Howard G. Peretz (Barnes & Noble, $14.98, 224 pages)

Either of these coffee-table books would make a welcome Christmas gift, especially for younger fans who don't remember most of the events chronicled.

I had a hard time deciding which I liked better. The determining factor probably should be the dissimilar prices. For the extra dough, "Crowd" includes two CDs of 47 radio or TV broadcasts that accompany the text. Bob Costas effectively mixes his narration with the play-by-play.

I've heard many of the broadcasts before, but chills still attack the spine at the sound of Russ Hodges repeatedly screaming "the Giants win the pennant" as Bobby Thomson rounds the bases at the Polo Grounds to end the Giants-Dodgers playoff on Oct. 3, 1951. The same reaction results from Clem McCarthy growling "and the German is down" as Joe Louis batters Max Schmeling senseless in the first round of their heavyweight championship mismatch at Yankee Stadium on June 22, 1938.

And one glaring omission: Red Barber's call of Al Gionfriddo's miracle catch on Joe DiMaggio in the 1947 World Series? ("Gionfriddo goes back. Back, back, back, back - and he makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen. Oho, doctor.").

More recent moments include Al Michaels' countdown as the U.S. Olympic hockey team completes its semifinal upset of the mighty Soviets at Lake Placid, N.Y., on Feb. 22, 1980: "Eleven seconds, you got 10 seconds. . . . Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?" And barely past are the sounds of Mark McGwire hitting home runs No. 62 and 70 in 1998, as well as the U.S. women's soccer team winning the World Cup last July.

Older area fans will enjoy hearing two venerable broadcasters who are still working.

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