Glitch costs announcer historic call

Glitch costs announcer historic call

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the greatest moments in a broadcaster's career went by the wayside Sunday when a KNBR microphone shorted out just as Barry Bonds hit his historic 715th home run.

Dave Flemming was the play-by-play announcer and KNBR has been the Giants' radio flagship station for 27 years. When Bonds hit the ball off Rockies right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim on a full-count pitch in the fourth inning of the Giants' 6-3 loss at AT&T Park with Steve Finley on first base, Flemming said he knew it was gone and began to savor the moment.

"When he hits it 450 feet, there's no doubt about it," Flemming said. "It's an easy call to make. I know it's going to be 715. I know it's going to be the big home run."

Flemming set it up like this:

"Three and two. Finley runs. The payoff pitch. A swing and a drive, deep to cen..."

Flemming's voice dropped out for several seconds as the crowd roared and the trademark San Francisco foghorns rang. Greg Papa, Flemming's sidekick for the day, grabbed another microphone and then picked up the description of the scene.

Flemming said he could hear his own voice echo through the headsets and didn't know his mike had gone dead until Papa frantically got into the mix. Papa fills in for Jon Miller, who was on his usual Sunday assignment for ESPN.

"I don't know technically what happened; I still don't know," said Flemming, who is in his third full season with the Giants. "There's nothing I can do about it. But I thought I made a good call. Nobody will ever know that."

The Giants also said they were not sure what had gone wrong at such a significant moment.

The late Russ Hodges, another Giants announcer, made one of the most significant play-by-play calls in baseball history. Hodges was in the booth for the New York Giants in 1951 when Bobby Thomson hit his famous "shot heard 'round the world" homer at the Polo Grounds to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers for the National League pennant.

Hodges' call, "The Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant," may be the most replayed in baseball play-by-play history. But Flemming's call didn't make it.

to the babe and beyond

"I don't know what happened," Flemming said about Bonds' 715th homer heard round the world that wasn't to be. "I made the call. It just didn't go over the air."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.