“Hello everyone! Good evening wherever you are.”
Whether navigating Los Angeles traffic, curling up on the couch after work, making dinner or eating out, millions of Angelenos turned on their TVs or radios to tune in for summer reunions with Vin Scully at 7 p.m.
Scully, who died Tuesday at age 94, was a Dodgers broadcaster for 67 seasons before retiring in 2016. He moved with the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. and has spent nearly seven decades inviting viewers and listeners to join him.
His presence alone in the stands turned the broadcasts into a conversation with millions of Angelenos and fans who could find Dodger game bait outside of greater Los Angeles. Bob Costas called Scully the greatest baseball announcer who ever lived. Current Dodgers announcer Joe Davis said he was “as great a storyteller as there is in modern history.” In November 2016, US President Barack Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Obama recalled that Scully asked him if he deserved the honor and said, “I’m just an old baseball announcer.”
Obama looked at the audience and then at Scully. “We had to let him know that you’re an old friend to Americans of all ages.”
As a New York City kid, Scully was captivated by the radio broadcasts of college football games and the roar of crowds crackling through AM radio. After graduating from Fordham University in the Bronx, Scully’s first professional assignment was a college football game between Maryland and Boston University at Fenway Park. There were no seats in the press box, so he called the game from the roof of the stadium. A year later, he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and traveled west when the team moved to Los Angeles.
Just as Scully found her calling listening to the airwaves, generations wanted to be a sportscaster because of her. Anytime between the dawn of spring and the dawn of summer, Scully regaled his audience with a lifetime of stories while recounting the drama of Major League Baseball. West coast fans remembered Scully talking of easy summer nights and backyard barbecues, while east coast fans remembered her as the last voice they ever heard. before falling asleep.
Faced with the most dramatic moments of her career, Scully brought the audience closer to history with her composure and simplicity. After announcing Hank Aaron’s home run to pass Babe Ruth as Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leader, Scully let 27 seconds pass, leaving the audience with only Aaron circling the bases, to the cheers and cheers of a raucous crowd. remained. fireworks. After Aaron was greeted by his teammates, Scully continued her story.
“What a great moment for baseball. What a great moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a great moment for the country and the world,” Scully said. “A black man gets a standing ovation in the Deep South as he breaks the all-time baseball idol record. It’s a great moment for all of us, especially for Henry Aaron.”
His history is behind the bag! Pass Buckner!” Calling Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Scully allowed the broadcast to go over three minutes before telling the raucous New York Mets crowd that “if a picture is worth 1,000 words, you’ve seen about a million words.” gives
Dodgers fans can choose from any number of his legendary calls: When Sandy Koufax threw his perfect game in 1965, striking out the final six batters in the process, Scully noted, “When Koufax capitalizes his name in the record book, it’s more than K OUFAX .” When Dodgers slugger Kirk Gibson hit a home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Scully’s call was “impossible in a year so improbable!”
Scully pitched three perfect games and 25 World Series in 67 years for the Dodgers. His extraordinary brilliance shone through in the most dramatic moments, but it was his everyday company that endeared him to viewers, listeners and the coaches and players he surrounded. He eschewed homeism in favor of personal stories and history lessons. His slow storytelling complemented baseball’s methodical pace so that audiences could learn about Hatshepsut, Alexander the Great and the history of beards, pirate conquests, or the time a player pulled two baby rabbits out of a rattlesnake. Every story had a moral, and none came at the expense of what happened on the field.
Scully preferred subtlety to bombard and color her shows with a gentle sense of humor that never mocked her subjects. On April 20, he mentioned that it was Adolf Hitler’s birthday before spitting on the microphone twice on the Dodgers broadcast. In recounting the ejection, he would explain to the audience that a seething player or manager thought the umpire’s call was a “manure flash.” Once, he even read a fan’s grocery list.
At a 1981 golf tournament, he invited viewers to “pull up a chair and watch the agony of the gentleman who fell into the pot hole at age 14” as golfer Rick Massengale attempted seven shots to avoid a cavernous bunker. Almost two minutes later, Scully summons poetry and imagines it In internal monologues between Massengale and his player, Scully described the golfer as “a victim who looked like a meteorite falling to the left side of the green on 14.” If action on the field slowed down, Scully offered listeners everything from one-man shows to history lessons to keep the broadcast going.
His passion for storytelling only grew as he entered the twilight of his seven-decade career. With the help of a devoted research team he often praised during the show, weekday evenings and weekend afternoons with Scully were joyous strolls through personal histories and old textbooks. To the war generation he was an old friend; to baby boomers, he was a father figure; to the rest of us, she was a grandparent reading bedtime stories. Every listener, regardless of age, was amazed when Scully spoke.
It took him just four minutes to explain the history of Friday the 13th—Tuesday the 13th is unlucky in Mexico and Greece, and Friday the 17th is unlucky in Italy. That’s when second baseman Mark Ellis steps up to the plate. “Luckily he wears number 14,” says Scully. “I’m not trying to be clever, I just thought you might find it a little interesting. Like you, I would be lost without Google.”
When Dodgers Pittsburgh pitcher Arquimedes Caminero faced Scully Archimedes explained the science of principle and a youthful struggle with geometry in less than 30 seconds. During the shooting of Arizona State’s Socrates Brito, Scully summed up the death of the Greek philosopher Socrates in just two minutes. Did you know that Socrates could have escaped his captors, but could have been singled out for trial as long as he was given a free dinner? You know that Socrates died after drinking hemlock, but did you know that hemlock is a member of the parsley family?
“It was the juice of that little flower that drove Socrates,” said Scully Brito as she missed a swing and a third strike. “Socrates haunts the evil field court. And it goes down!”
Perhaps the most magical part of Scully’s personality and career was his exuberance for fans who filled stadiums and tuned in to enjoy his shows. Whenever the cameras focused on the children, Scully treated them like her grandchildren. During the September 2016 episode, cameras caught the baby sucking his right thumb. She read “Thumbs” by Shel Silverstein. before the first pitch of the inning.
Even in death, he was the love of Scully’s life when news of his death broke on Tuesday. He was a few months shy of his 90th birthday: “No matter how many tomorrows I have, I spend these days exactly as I want,” he said. When asked by a reporter what he was doing on his first opening day as a retiree, Scully said he was doing another national pastime: paying the bills.
When It was fully signed in October 2016, Scully looked at the camera and said, “we’ve been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart that I need you more than you need me, and I’m going to miss the time we spent together. I can tell.” As Scully ascends into the sky, like what she describes as “cotton candy pink, blue, good enough to eat,” the world misses Scully more than ever: gone is the pattern of joy in a world of rage, and calm in a time of chaos.
Everyone knew that Scully would shine under the brightest lights and the highest drama, but she is missed because she invited us to join her after our best day or our worst, in moments of joy or sadness. And for a few hours, Vin comforted us from the pleasant confines of the press box, a much-needed respite from life’s daily stresses.
And every night, the next day, when it was time for Dodger baseball, he would invite us to join him again.