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'Is it enough? Gone!'
Radio, TV calls will go down in history with No. 62
Posted: Tuesday September 08, 1998 11:42 PM
St. LOUIS (AP) -- Mark McGwire's record home run screamed out of the park so fast, there was barely time for a dramatic call.
Fox's Joe Buck rose to the task, though, delivering a home run call Tuesday night that immediately goes down as one of the most memorable in history.
"Down the left-field line, is it enough? Gone! There it is, 62. Touch first Mark, you are the new single-season home run king!" Buck said before letting the pictures take over for the next 3 1/2 minutes.
There were shots of McGwire almost missing first base, giving high-fives to the Cubs infielders, hugging and kissing his son Matt, embracing his teammates, saluting the crowd, being shown the ball by a stadium worker, celebrating with Sammy Sosa and climbing into the stands to hug the Maris family.
The silence ended with Buck saying, "Folks, it couldn't happen to a better man. You will always remember where you were when it happened -- 8:18 central time, September 8, 1998."
It had to be a particularly special moment for Buck, who also calls Cardinals games locally and whose father Jack is a longtime Cardinals announcer.
Buck was not the only one to call history Tuesday night. Mike Shannon, a former teammate and best friend of Maris, made the call on St. Louis radio station KMOX-AM.
"A shot into the corner! It might make it! There it is -- 62, folks! And we have a new home run champion -- a new Sultan of Swat!"
Fox producer John Filippelli handled the moment with restraint, holding off on replays and keeping the camera on McGwire for more than four minutes after the home run. Then came the reaction replays from manager Tony La Russa, the Maris family and Sosa. There were also replays of the swing and the home run trot, on which McGwire almost missed first base.
Fox set up the drama with an opening montage of his recent homers and an interview with McGwire and Sosa. Moments before the record-breaker was a shot of McGwire in the dugout with his eyes closed, concentrating on the task at hand.
In the eighth inning, Fox showed reactions from other ballparks. There was Juan Gonzalez taking his glove off and clapping after watching the shot in Texas and a standing ovation from George Steinbrenner at Fenway Park. Fox analyst Tim McCarver, himself a former teammate of Maris, summed up McGwire's feat in the seventh inning.
"There's a big difference between breaking a record and breaking the record," he said. "Mark McGwire broke the most revered record in all of sports."
McGwire was obviously the focus of Fox's entire telecast. He was the only reason Fox preempted its regular entertainment programming to show the first nationally televised prime-time regular-season baseball game since 1989.
While he was at the plate, the focus was on the moment. When he was in the field or watching from the dugout, Fox took that time to delve into other issues.
There were discussions of McGwire's staggering statistics, graphics on the number of home runs per season, interviews with the Maris family, lessons on the tax code and a visit in the booth from the director of the Hall of Fame who brought the bat Maris used to hit No. 61.
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