Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Russ Hodges

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! is former big league baseball announcer Russ Hodges.

Russell Pleasant Hodges was born on June 18, 1910, in Dayton, Tennessee.

Russ went to the University of Kentucky and graduated from Law School at the University of Cincinnati.

Starting in the early 1930s Russ broadcast boxing, Big Ten Football games, and big league baseball games for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and the old Wasington Senators.

Russ headed to New York City in 1946 to do Yankees games with Hall of Fame broadcaster Mel Allen, and then, finally, to the crosstown Giants in 1948.

Russ would broadcaster Giants games for the next 23 years, calling games for great Giants players such as Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Bobby Bonds, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, and Orlando Cepeda.

Russ was the Giants announcer for World Series games in 1951 and 1954 while the Giants were still playing at the Polo Grounds at Coogan's Bluff.

In 1954 the Giants defeated the Cleveland Indians to win the only Giants World Series Championship that Russ Hodges would call.

The Giants moved to San Francisco, first playing baseball at Seals Stadium, and then, in 1960, at legendary Candlestick Park.

Russ was behind the microphone during the 1962 World  Series between the Giants and Yankees.

Of all the games Russ called during his career, he is, and will always be, associated with what is probably the most famous home run call in baseball broadcasting history, the National League Pennant winning walk off HR by Giants 3rd Baseman Bobby Thompson.

That HR call, "the Giants win the Pennant, the Giants win the Pennant," made Russ Hodges famous across the country, and it still resonates with baseball fans 64 years later.

Russ was also the author of Baseball Complete  in 1952.

Russ teamed with fellow Hall of Fame broadcaster Lon Simmons  as one of the finest baseball broadcasting duos of All-Time, and the pair also teamed up to call Bay Area football games as the Voices of San Francisco 49ers football games.

Russ called his last game for the San Francisco Giants at the end of the 1970 season.

In 1971 Russ, a life long chain smoker, passed away from a heart attack at the age of 60.

In 1975 Russ was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.

In 1980 Russ Hodges was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award  by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Giants moved into beautiful Pac Bell Park in 2000, and named the broadcasting booth at the park in honor of Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons.

Russ was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Offa Hall of Fame in 2008.

Happy Baseball Birthday Russ, Happy Baseball Birthday Russ!

Play Ball!

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