Tom Hamilton, a Waterloo High School (Jefferson County) graduate and longtime announcer for the Cleveland Guardians, had some fun with a Saturday night brawl between the Guardians and White Sox, and it became internet-famous in a hurry.
In the sixth inning of a 7-4 White Sox win, Cleveland star Jose Ramírez doubled and slid head-first into second base, then took exception with the way White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson tagged him. Ramírez jumped to his feet, and the two wound up throwing up their hands like prizefighters, ending with both landing punches and Ramírez knocking Anderson backward.
Hamilton’s call immediately captured the moment: “Now Josey and Anderson square off! They’re fighting! They’re swinging! Down goes Anderson! Down goes Anderson!
“Ramírez went in with a head-first slide. Josey never gets upset about anything. They came up chewing. Anderson squared off. Josey decked him!”
If you want a “Down Goes Anderson” shirt, yes, you can find one pretty easily.
Both managers and the fighters were ejected, as was Cleveland third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh and closer Emmanuel Clase.
“It’s really not funny,” said Guardians manager Terry Francona afterward, “but when I came in (to the clubhouse after the brawl), I’m listening to Hammy, it’s hard not to chuckle. Again it’s not funny but … boys will be boys.”
Hamilton has been broadcasting Cleveland games since 1990 and been chief radio announcer since 1998. He’s been a finalist for the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award before. One of his booth partners was Mike Hegan, a former Brewers player and announcer who worked Cleveland broadcasts from 1989 to 2011.
“We’re not doing anything that is going to change the world or save mankind or save a life,” Hamilton said to Zack Meisel of The Athletic. “You just try to have fun with it, realizing that this is the entertainment business, even though a lot of people question how entertaining we are.”
Hamilton lived on a dairy farm in his younger days before moving to Waterloo, resting about 25 miles northeast of Madison. He grew up listening to Milwaukee Braves games, then Bucks basketball games. He began broadcasting in Appleton, including at Appleton Foxes baseball games, and spent time broadcasting University of Wisconsin football games. He latched on with a Columbus radio station in 1986, the first step toward his current gig in Cleveland.