Love him or (more likely) hate him, no broadcaster in Major League Baseball has a more definitive home run call than Ken "Hawk" Harrelson of the Chicago White Sox. His homespun, hometown-leaning style rankles many, and he's made scores of enemies in the sabermetric crowd, but when he utters "You can put it on the board ... YES!" everyone watching knows that someone on the Sox has just hit a home run.
And even when it's not a definite home run, it's still definitively a Hawk Harrelson call. That was the case Thursday night in the 12th inning when Conor Gillaspie went deep against the Kansas City Royals. Umpires on the field took forever to make a definitive call after Royals outfielder Jason Maxwell leaped at the fence and reached high for Gillaspie's drive to right. Nobody else on the Royals chased after the ball as Gillaspie rounded the bases — hesitating from time to time, and then running faster when his coach shouted at him — and no play was made at the plate. Everyone on the field seemed confused, and they weren't the only ones.
Harrelson didn't know what to call, and hilarious results ensued.
Here's a transcript of the moment:
"That ball hit deep!
Maxwell at the wall, jumps...
What is it?
You can put it — no, safe?!
You can put it on the board, or what?!"
Anyway, he's coming around; You can put it on the board, YEEEESSSSSSS!"
Finally, what must have seemed like a long, national nightmare to Harrelson was over. Gillaspie was safe and the White Sox had the lead, but like everything else with them in 2013, it was a laboring experience. Even for the broadcasters.
And just for fun, here's a photo of Hawk in 1969, looking like one of the Monkees, with Indians GM Gabe Paul (left) and MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn after Harrelson was traded to Cleveland: