David Freese and Kirby Puckett were connected, 20 years (and one day) apart, by a bottom-of-the 11th-inning game-winning home run in Game 6 of the World Series to force a seventh-game.
Joe Buck called the former on Thursday night for Fox. His dad, Hall of Famer Jack Buck, called the later in Minnesota in 1991 for CBS.
They both used the same line: “We will see you tomorrow night.”
Joe Buck, in his 16th season as Fox’s lead baseball play-by-play broadcaster, said he did it to celebrate his dad’s call.
“I started my career through nepotism, connections, and early on I tried everything to sound different from my dad,” Joe Buck told Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Thursday’s game. “But in the best game I ever witnessed, ever called, my first thing was to go back to my dad.
“I never would have done that (earlier in my career, trying to distance himself from the family tie. But now I look for opportunities to celebrate him.
“I think I started thinking about it … in the ninth inning. I have become smart enough in all these years of doing it that you can’t in any way shape or form force anything. It has to be right, it has to fit. Those calls are always in the back of my mind. With it being here in St. Louis (where his dad worked for so many years as the voice of the Cards), with it being a St. Louis kid who hit it, and with the crowd doing what the crowd did, I guess it fit OK. But in the end I’m just happy to get through the broadcast and feel good about the whole 4 hours, not just the last five seconds.
“I don’t really consider it some crowning achievement. I’m not going to become like a Jack Buck cover band, and start doing his calls whenever I can cram one in. I felt like this one fit, it was clean in this situation. It wasn’t like it was a base hit and somebody scored from first. … It was a simple straightaway home run that I thought he hit as soon as
the ball left his bat. It gave me a second to gather myself. When I saw (center fielder Josh) Hamilton’s shoulders drop I knew it was OK to say it. … That was building in my mind.
“The beauty of that when it originally was said in ’91 was that (he meant) ‘We knew we’re going to see you for a Game 7. If you bothered to watch this long for this kind of game,
you’re going to be back tomorrow night.’
“I can 1,000 percent guarantee that will never come out of my mouth again. It was the perfect time, and the last time. … It was the perfect time to use it.”