August 2, 2022

RIP Vin Scully: 1927-2022

The broadcasting career of Vincent Edward Scully began in 1950, at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, when he was a 22-year-old, fresh out of Fordham University. Scully had wanted to be a sports announcer. since he was seven years old.

He would broadcast Dodgers games for the next 67 years. He died this evening at his home in Los Angeles, at the age of 94.

Scully became the Dodgers' principal announcer in 1954, the year after he became (and still is) the youngest person to broadcast a World Series. The Dodgers won the 1955 World Series and moved to Los Angeles two years later. Scully retired in 2016, at age 88.

One of my initial joys of subscribing to the MLBTV package nearly 20 years ago was, after the Red Sox game was over, flipping over to the Dodgers broadcast and listening to Scully for an inning or two. It was the perfect way to relax.

The Times mentions Scully's "mastery of the graceful phrase and his gift for storytelling". That's exactly it. In those ways, Scully was much like Roger Angell, who died this past May, at the age of 101.

How good – and how loved – was Scully? Dodgers fans by the thousands would bring small transistor radios to the stadium and hold them to the side of their heads, watching the game unfolding in front of them with Scully's words in their ears.

Sometimes people say things like, "Don't trust anyone who doesn't like dogs." Well, I'll agree with that – it's sound advice – and I'll add: "Don't trust anyone who doesn't believe Vin Scully was the greatest baseball announcer of all-time."

Clips and Words:

September 9, 1965: Scully calls the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax's perfect game (the fourth no-hitter of his career) against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers managed only one hit against Bob Hendley. (Comments include a cool story of how this recording exists.)

October 14, 1965: World Series Game 7: Dodgers (Koufax) at Twins (Kaat)

October 15, 1988: World Series Game 1 (bottom of 9th inning): Athletics at Dodgers

Appreciating Vin Scully Appreciating Clayton Kershaw (Matthew Kory, FanGraphs, September 8, 2015)

"I'm not sure [my wife] knows how to pick out a good avocado."


allan said...

Craig Calcaterra:

"On some level Scully knew that we all have lives full of important and stressful things and that, baseball, however wonderful it is, is a diversion, not the most important thing in our lives. As such, he did not treat his broadcasts as destination viewing or listening. He did not act like the game he was calling or the fact that he was calling it was the most important thing going on at that moment. He did not offer phony superlatives. He did not supply unwarranted hype, hot takes or artificial intensity. He never, ever, pretended that he had any superior insight into the game than you the fan did, even though he obviously did. He simply talked about what was happening in plain terms and let you know things that he knew that might make the game more enjoyable for you. Rather than style himself as some baseball expert, he simply took ample time during breaks in the action to tell us interesting and amusing stories and make our diversion pleasant in any way he could. . . .

Scully also realized that there were stopping points in the game which gave him room for those stories. Indeed, at one point, as he was in the middle of a good one when a Giants batter fouled a ball away. Scully tipped his hand and said 'good, that gives us a chance . . .' and went on and finished the story when the batter stepped out and a new ball was rubbed up by the pitcher. Scully knew, and always knew, that what happens when there is no action in a ballgame can be just as important as what happens when there is action."

FenFan said...

Unfortunately, sports broadcasts today do not allow for Vin Scully because every moment of what would be dead airspace has to be filled by a commercial for one of the program sponsors, and there's no issue with the broadcast team talking over the action on the field and making the story anything BUT the game at hand. I'm not just talking about baseball; it's EVERY sport, at least the broadcasts I watch here in North America.