Ken “Hawk” Harrelson has been broadcasting baseball games for more than 40 years, and during that time he’s added a few memorable catchphrases to the game’s lingo.
In an appearance on Buster Olney’s ESPN podcast, Harrelson explained where some of his memorable catchphrases originated.
Most of them, Harrelson said, derived from phrases he used during his nine-year playing career from 1963-71.
Olney asked first about Harrelson’s strikeout call: “He gone!”
“I’d be in right field and we’d be playing in Minnesota, and [Harmon] Killebrew comes to the plate … and he struck out and I’d say: ‘He gone! Get some other SOB up there!’
“Most of the phrases I use were phrases I used when I played,” Harrelson continued. “‘Grab some bench.’ And the nicknames were commonplace in my time. Everybody had a nickname.”
Harrelson then shared the genesis of “You can put it on the board, YES!” which is used after a White Sox player hits a home run.
“That came from golf,” he said. “I got to the fifth hole there, a tough par 3 and I hit it up there about 20 feet and knocked in for the birdie. So back in those days they didn’t have the electronic scoreboards, they just had the manual scoreboards by the holes.
“They had an older gentleman up there with a book, a pipe and he was wearing glasses and just reading this book. When I walked off the green he hadn’t moved and I looked at him and said ‘Put it on the board!’ He looked at me, put the book down and put a two up on the board.
“So where the ‘Yes!’ came from was my daughter. She was a competitive diver. … We would go to her meets and she’d go off a 10-meter board and she’d hit it and come up and I’d go ‘Yes!’ And all of a sudden one day we were doing a game, and somebody hit a home run. I watched him go around the bases and I said ‘You can put it on the board, yes!’ That’s where it came from.
“I don’t think you can come up with some of that unless you’re into the game. These things are not contrived. They are spontaneous and they happen. A lot of people liked it, so that was nice.”
Harrelson touched on a number of other topics with Olney, including his start in broadcasting, his miserable year as the White Sox general manager and his being labeled a “homer.”