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It was a historic day for baseball: 44 years ago today, No. 44 entered the record books.
On the evening of April 8, 1974, Atlanta Braves slugger Hank Aaron became the career home run king, slamming a 1-0 fastball off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing into the left-center field bullpen at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium. Home run No. 715 allowed Aaron to pass Babe Ruth’s career record that had stood since 1935, and tied the game at 3 and ignited a four-run rally for the Braves. Atlanta would win the nationally televised game, 7-4.
There was an 11-minute delay to celebrate the homer, as the crowd of 53,775 roared its approval.
Here are two iconic broadcast calls of Aaron’s home run, starting with Braves announcer Milo Hamilton:
And here is the call by Vin Scully, the longtime Dodgers broadcaster:
Which one do you like better? There is the pure, unbridled excitement of Hamilton, whose “There’s a new home run champion of all time, and it’s Henry Aaron” is the more commonly heard audio.
And then there is the more nuanced call by Scully, who was silent for 22 seconds after the ball cleared the fence so listeners could soak in the moment.
“What a marvelous moment for baseball,” Scully said when he spoke again. “What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world.”
Which one was better? You make the call.