Saturday, May 04, 2013

My greatest home run call

Hello from Walla Walla, Washington where I spoke this week at the Walla Walla Sweets kickoff dinner.  People always ask "what's your greatest home run call?"  It came my first year in the minors with the Syracuse Chiefs, and it became sort of a legend.   The Syracuse Post-Standard even did a story about it as recently as last month.   So I told that story and will repeat it here.   Even if you're not a baseball fan (and many of you aren't -- I hear the complaints whenever I do a baseball post) you will enjoy this story. 

The Chiefs were then the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays (now they're the Washington National's top farm club).  My broadcast partner was Dan Hoard, now the voice of the Cincinnati Bengals and University of Cincinnati football and basketball.   In 1988 our station had a weaker signal than my home Wifi transmitter. At night you couldn’t hear it at the ballpark. When people complained I used to say that this was just the flagship station of the “Worldwide Syracuse Chiefs Radio Network”. I would pause for station identification every half hour and make up all this crap about how popular the Chiefs were in Norway and Bhutan.

We had a third baseman named Norm Tonucci. Sweet kid from Connecticut who was on a year long slump. He came to bat once and I said we had many listeners from Borneo because Norm was a folk hero over there. I then created some story that his father had parachuted behind enemy lines in World War II and single handedly saved the country. I said the currency of Borneo is “Tonuches”, that 90% of male babies and 70% of female babies were named Norm. Every time he came to bat I would reprieve this Borneo connection and night after night he would go 0-3, 0-4, 0-8 (doubleheader).

One night we’re in Oklahoma City and Norm hits a triple. When he came to bat the next time up I talked about how excited the people of Borneo were over the triple. The next pitch he just crushed. And this was my home run call:

“Tonucci swings and there’s a long drive to deep left field. Steve Kemp goes back…to the track…to the wall….NO SCHOOL TOMORROW IN BORNEO!”

19 comments:

The Curmudgeon said...

I love the baseball stories in general... and this one in particular. Don't let the naysayers get you down. As I tell my kids, haters gonna hate... and then they look at me and beg me never to speak like that again.

Nelly Wilson said...

Here's Granddad in his rocking chair telling the story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HLvOUZeEVes#!

slgc said...

I love it - hysterical stuff!

Michael said...

I can just hear The Vin saying, "The population of Borneo is ...."

Unknown said...

Too bad there are no Jews in Borneo (at least according to Cliff Clavin).

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Killer. Absolutely killer!

MikeBo said...

Ken, that's a classic.

Janet said...

I'm sharing this. Excellent!

pumpkinhead said...

awesome.

Victor Velasco said...

Had to wait for literally 90 seconds to reply cause I was laughing so hard!!

Phil In Phoenix said...

Norm Tonucci put the Wild in Wild Man of Borneo.

Fenway said...

You left out Dan

"They're going wild in Borneo."

Michael Hagerty said...

My sides hurt...

Jake Mabe said...

That's great!

Keep the baseball stories coming from time to time. It is, after all, the greatest game ever played! :)

LouOCNY said...

ONe of my favorite stories from IT'S GONE!...NOW WAIT A MINUTE....

Tod Hunter said...

Jeez, I laughed out loud at that one. Thanks.

chuckcd said...

Nice. I think Steve Kemp played for the Tigers after that.

Love these baseball posts!
Keep 'em coming!

Jeffersondwaful said...

Ken, Donald Waful is my grandfather - was the president of The Chiefs for a million years. Anyway, I met you one night in the booth and you were so warm and friendly to my dad and me - and hilarious. Just happened to stumble upon your blog.

My grandfather is 97 now and still going to the ballpark every night.

Not sure if this will get to you, but if so, thanks for all that comedy over the years and for being a good man.

Jefferson Waful

Mason R. said...

Hey Ken -- Mason Robinson here, one of the new announcers for the Walla Walla Sweets this year. Howard just showed me this article. Classic stuff!! Got a great laugh out of it!