“It’s time for Dodger baseball!”
Even after 67 years, Vincent “Vin” Scully’s renowned voice ringing through Dodger Stadium still electrifies the crowd of blue. Scully’s name has become well-known in the baseball realm, but not many people are aware of his humble beginnings.
After Scully served in the United States Navy for two years, he began his studies at Fordham University as a student broadcaster. Aside from his school work, he seemed to be a jack-of-all-trades: he sang in a barbershop quartet, helped in the creation of Fordham’s FM radio station, was a center fielder for Fordham’s baseball team, and broadcasted the university’s baseball, football, and basketball games.
After college, he applied to over 150 stations on the East coast and finally was recruited by Red Barber, a sports director of the CBS Radio Network. After impressing Barber, Scully joined his side in 1950 working for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ radio and television booth.
During the 1953 World Series game, Scully became the youngest journalist to report the World Series.
He maintained this job even in 1957 when the Dodgers’ clubhouse moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, where Scully became the Dodgers’ principal announcer.
Scully quickly grew popular among fans and, though he was offered new jobs by new clubhouses, he stuck with his boys in blue. When he was employed by NBC, Scully called the “Saturday Game of the Week” and, in total, has called nine World Series Games on television (13 via radio), four National League Championship Series Games on television (three via radio), and six All-Star Games on television (six via radio).
In 1976, Scully was voted “most memorable personality” by his loyal Dodger fans and 1995 was a good year for Scully as he was honored the Life Achievement Emmy Award for sportscasting and was also inducted to the National Radio Hall of Fame, just to name a few of his achievements.
In the 2016 season, Scully called approximately 100 baseball games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but unfortunately on Jan. 31, he announced that his retirement would commence at the end of the 2016 regular season.
At first, the possibility of Scully calling October baseball games remained an option, but in September he changed his mind, stating he would end in October so he would not have to “say goodbye like in grand opera, where you say goodbye 12 different times.”
As Scully’s 67 years of broadcasting comes to a close, his impact on baseball will never be forgotten. His technique for broadcasting was unique and inviting. His warm tone of voice created the illusion that one was actually holding a conversation with him. Scully did not simply describe what was happening on the field; he was a storyteller. He researched nitty-gritty, peculiar facts about the opposing team and their players, and in between calling pitches, he would weave in a story. These stories ranged from his childhood, to scouting reports, to the history of beards, and pretty much anything he could think of. Scully was baseball’s best raconteur.
In preparation for his retirement, Scully ranked his top 20 favorite calls he had made over his 67 years with the Dodgers.
Not surprising at number one was Kirk Gibson’s 1988 Game 1 World Series walk-off home run. Injured and watching from the locker room, Gibson heard Scully note in the bottom of the eighth inning that he was not in the line-up for the game and would not be playing. Frustrated, Gibson set up the tee, and began a small batting practice session. Then came the magic.
In the bottom of the ninth, with injuries to both legs, Gibson went to the plate as a pinch hitter. The crowd was roaring. Three balls and two strikes with a runner on second, two outs; this is the moment every kid dreams about.
“High fly ball into right field. She is gone!” In this moment, Scully’s voice erupted with joy and excitement as Gibson double clutches around the bases.
Scully’s famous quote, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened,” refers to the elevation of the Dodgers’ name from being the underdogs of the series to Gibson’s historic home run to eventually becoming the 1988 World Series Champions.
Scully’s enthusiasm and love for baseball continued to inspire people and allowed them to create memories with his voice as the narrator. Scully’s stories resonated with all different types of people, no matter what Major League Baseball team someone supported or played for. Many professional players have childhood memories involving Scully, including Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.
Scully was an artist; he painted vivid pictures through his words, one of the many reasons that his legacy will continue on forever. Throughout his final season, Scully has been commemorated in various ways.
In April, Elysian Park Avenue was renamed Vin Scully Avenue to honor the legendary broadcaster.
September 23-25 was Vin Scully weekend, full of bobbleheads, gold coins, and even a pre-game speech from the man himself.
Dodgers visited Scully’s booth to bid him farewell throughout the season. Players from opposing teams also met the icon when being hosted by the Dodgers, showering him with gifts to thank him for his 67 years of excellence.
Sept. 25 was Scully’s last home broadcast at Dodger Stadium. To honor the living legend, before stepping up to the plate, each player tipped their helmet to Scully to show him the respect he had earned. The slogan “Win for Vin” was heard throughout the stadium, proving true when the Dodgers beat the Rockies in walk-off fashion, a true Hollywood ending.
Post-game, Scully spoke to the crowd, thanking them for their constant love and support. He proceeded by sharing the story of how he sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” to his wife after they got married, and kept it as their own treasured secret. Scully then played the song to the crowd, telling them that they were the wind beneath his wings.
Ironically, Scully’s last broadcast was on Oct. 2 from AT&T Park against the Dodgers’ infamous rivals, the San Francisco Giants.
–Alyssa Alanis and Emily Sierra
“List of Major League Baseball All-Star Game Broadcasters.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Aug. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
“List of National League Championship Series Broadcasters.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Sept. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
“List of World Series Broadcasters.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Sept. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
“Report: Vin Scully Says He Won’t Call Dodgers Playoff Games.” The Big Story. Associated Press, 13 Sept. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
“Vin Scully Biography.” The Famous People. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
Weisman, Jon, and Carey Osborne, comps. Dodger Insider. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 2016. Print. The Greatest of All Time.