Longtime Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully, considered by many to be the king of his profession, died Tuesday. He was 94.
The Los Angeles Dodgers confirmed Scully’s death via their official social media.
“He was the voice of the Dodgers, and so much more,” the organization wrote. “He was their conscience, their poet laureate, capturing their beauty and chronicling their glory, from Jackie Robinson to Sandy Koufax, Kirk Gibson to Clayton Kershaw. Vin Scully was the heartbeat of the Dodgers — and in many ways, the heartbeat of all of Los Angeles.”
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 3, 2022
Also the national announcer of baseball for NBC, football and golf for CBS and baseball for CBS Radio for years, Scully endeared himself to fans through 67 seasons with the Dodgers, a record for a broadcaster with one team in any sport. . In 2010, the American Sportscasters Assn. Scully has been called the greatest sportscaster of all time.
Born in New York, Vincent Edward Scully joined the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 22 as their No. 3 announcer to begin the 1950 season, eight years before the team moved west to Los Angeles. He was coached by Red Barber, the preeminent baseball voice of his era, who was uncomplainingly impressed by Scully’s solo radio call of the 1949 Maryland-Boston University football game from the outdoor press box at Fenway Park in the November cold. .
For Scully, it was a dream come true.
“When I was 8 years old, I wrote a piece for nuns about wanting to be a sports announcer,” he once said. “That wouldn’t mean anything today—everyone watches TV and radio—but in those days, in New York, the only thing we really had was college football on the radio on Saturday afternoons. Where boys in grammar school wanted to be policemen and firemen and girls wanted to be ballet dancers and nurses. , this guy said, ‘I want to be a sports announcer.’ I mean it was really out of the blue.”
Scully’s stature quickly grew in the New York market, which included not only Barber with the Dodgers, but also Mel Allen with the Yankees and Ross Hodges with the New York Giants, and former Dodger announcer Ernie Harwell with the New York Giants. At age 25 in 1953, Scully became the youngest player to pitch in the World Series, a record he still holds.
Barber left that fall to join Allen with the Yankees. So it was Scully who was the No. 1 voice of the Dodgers when “The Boys of Summer” finally won their first World Series in 1955. Don Larson also had Scully at the mic at the end of the national broadcast of the 1956 World Series. game for the Yankees against Brooklyn.
When the Dodgers were uprooted from Ebbets Field after the 1957 season, the New York native and former Fordham U. The outfielder came with them. The Dodgers were a seventh-place team in their first season in Los Angeles, but Scully was quickly credited with helping the franchise grow in its new city. As transistor radios grew in popularity, many fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would listen to Scully and teammate Jerry Doggett at games, highlighted one day in 1960 when Scully persuaded the crowd to shout “Happy Birthday” to an umpire. .
With the base running of Maury Wills and the pitching of Sandy Koufax, the Dodgers shocked baseball by returning to win the 1959 World Series in their second season in Southern California. and Don Drysdale to lead Los Angeles to World Series titles in 1963 and 1965. Sculley’s call of Koufax’s fourth no-hitter, a perfect game on September 9, 1965, is still amazing today.
“It’s 9:46 p.m. Two and two, one strike away to Harvey Kuehn. Sandy on his windup, here’s the pitch… Swing on and miss, a perfect game!” Scully exclaims before pausing for 39 seconds to allow cheers in Dodger Stadium. .
“On the scoreboard in right field it’s 9:46 in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. And a crowd of 29,139 had just sat down to watch the only pitcher in baseball history to throw four no-hit, no-run games. He’s done it four years in a row, and Now he caps it: In his fourth no-hitter, he made it a perfect game. And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with ease. He struck out the last six batters in a row. So when he capitalized on the record books. When writing his name, that ‘K’ stands out even more than OUFAX.
Extremely literate, Scully mixed quotes from great works into his play-by-plays (while he was also known for refusing to root on-air for the work team). His blend of improvised oratory and a sense of drama became his signature in the years to come. After calling the record-setting 715th career home run by Hank Aaron in 1974 for a national TV broadcast, Scully said nothing for nearly two minutes before commenting.
“What an amazing moment for baseball,” Scully said. “What an amazing moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What an amazing moment for the country and the world. A black man is standing and cheering for an all-time baseball idol in the Deep South to break the record. And it’s a great moment for all of us, especially Hank Aaron.
Scully’s longevity was such that he broadcast for more than three decades after being voted into the Broadcasting Division of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
His flair wasn’t limited to baseball: His call of Dwight Clark’s game-winning catch in the 1982 NFC Championship Game is also considered an all-time classic. Scully often found himself in the entertainment world, whether as host of the game show “It Takes Two” from 1969-70 or as the play-by-play announcer on the Kevin Costner starrer “For Love of the Game.”
But perhaps most of all, Scully will be remembered for his words when a sore-footed Kirk Gibson unexpectedly stepped to the plate for an underdog Dodgers team in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series and took a full count against the game’s leading reliever, Dennis. Acresley.
“High flying ball to right field. She’s…gone!” Before watching as rickety Gibson made it around the bases, Scully called in. “In a year where the impossible happened, the impossible happened.”
Scully suffered two personal tragedies. His first wife Joan died in 1972 at the age of 35. His son Michael died in a helicopter crash in 1994 at the age of 33. Scully rarely talked about his personal life and actively discouraged others from doing the same; He apparently abandoned the idea of writing a memoir of his career.
In his 80s, Scully televised every inning of more than 100 games per year without a break. (The marathon was nothing new for Schooley, who on June 3, 1989, called a 10-inning day game in Chicago for NBC and then a 22-inning Dodger game in Houston.)
He eventually reduced his workload by limiting himself to regular season games west of Colorado. Still, he could not leave the profession that rewarded him until 2016 at the age of 88.
After announcing his final match, he delivered a farewell message, “You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart that I need you more than ever, and I. I will miss our time together more than I can say. But Who knows? There will be a new day and eventually a new year. And when the coming winter gives way to spring, rest assured, it will be ‘time for Dodger baseball’ again. So this is Vin Scully wishing you a very happy afternoon, wherever you are. .
“I never thought about being great,” Scully said Variety In 2008. “All I want to do is play as well as I can. And to this day, that’s all I’m thinking about. I mean, I come here, (and) my whole mind is ready, play, and if I do it well, well, And if I make a mistake, I’ll chew myself all the way home.
“I’ve always felt (that) I haven’t really accomplished anything. All I’ve done is spend my life talking about other people’s accomplishments… It’s a privilege—it really is, and I take it as a privilege. I actually take myself seriously. to take
Scully has four children and two stepchildren, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His second wife, Sandra, died in 2021.