10 of Sterling's most iconic Yankees HR calls

April 16th, 2024

TORONTO -- Frequently imitated and never duplicated, John Sterling left his mark for more than three decades as the “Voice of the Yankees.” He frequently said that he loved teams stocked with home run hitters because their performance would allow him to do his “act.”

“The home run calls he comes up with,” said Yankees captain Aaron Judge, “we’ll be sitting on the bus whenever we trade for someone new or it’s someone’s first game, we’ll always go back and forth -- ‘Hey, what’s John going to come up with this time? What’s he going to use? Is he going to go first name, the last name?’”

The personalized home run call is a Sterling staple, building off a brand created with a select few stars during the Yankees’ dynasty of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

At the time of Sterling’s retirement announcement on Monday, he had been crafting quirky exultations for every hitter on the roster, like one he debuted in Houston for Juan Soto (“It’s a Soto photo! He is Juanderful! ‘S Marvelous!”). In true Sterling fashion, the Soto call referenced a 1927 George Gershwin composition.

“He always outsmarts us and comes up with something great that the fans love, and we love as players listening to it,” Judge said. “John’s a big part of this family, and we’re going to miss him.”

Go ahead and picture a deep drive rattling around in the bleachers at the old Yankee Stadium or near the Judge’s Chambers in the new park. It is high, it is far, it is gone -- and here are a few of Sterling’s most iconic home run calls:

Aaron Judge: “All Rise! Here comes the Judge!” There is no shortage of judicial puns to try with a player like Judge, and Sterling has taken full advantage since Judge’s debut in 2016. Other parts of the call refer to “Judgement Day” and “Judge and jury.”

Giancarlo Stanton: “Giancarlo, non si può de stopparlo!” Sterling asked for help on this one, calling a friend at the Berlitz Academy of Foreign Languages. Loosely translated from Italian, the call means, “You cannot be stopped!”

Gleyber Torres: “It’s Gleyber Day! And like a good Gleyber, Torres is there!” An avid television watcher who delights in watching sports on one screen and classic movies on another, Sterling had ample opportunities to hear this ubiquitous State Farm insurance jingle.

Bernie Williams: “Bernie goes boom! Bern, baby, Bern!” One of the original calls that started it all, Williams slugged 287 home runs with the Yankees from 1991-2006. Here, Sterling references a lyric from The Trammps’ 1976 hit, “Disco Inferno.”

Jason Giambi: “The Giambino!” Sterling’s call for Giambi is a cousin of his earlier one for Tino Martinez, whom he called the “Bam-Tino.” They are both homages to Babe Ruth, who counted the Bambino among his many nicknames.

Jorge Posada: “Jorgie juiced one!” Posada slugged 275 home runs as a Yankee from 1995-2011, good for eighth on the all-time franchise list … and also good for Sterling, who got to call each one.

Alex Rodriguez: “It’s an A-Bomb! From A-Rod!” No one was more delighted by the Yankees’ 2004 acquisition of Rodriguez than Sterling, who was behind the microphone for the slugger’s chase of round-numbered career milestones.

Robinson Canó: “Robbie Canó, don’t ‘cha know?!” Rhymes and alliteration were standbys for Sterling, who got to call 204 Canó home runs with the Yankees from 2005-13.

Hideki Matsui: “It’s a thrilla! By Godzilla!” Sterling adored Matsui, whom he saw as a consummate professional. Matsui hit 140 homers during his time with the Yankees from 2003-09.

Mark Teixeira: “Mark sends a Tex message! You’re on the Mark, Teixeira!” Sterling famously owned a flip phone and would not return text messages, nor does he possess an email account, but he referenced the tech world after Teixeira joined the club in 2009.