Vin Scully dead: The Los Angeles Dodgers announcer was 94
Vin Scully, the Dodgers’ longtime play-by-play announcer who is considered by many to be the king of his craft, 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 her conscience, her Poet Laureate, capturing her beauty and charting her fame from Jackie Robinson to Sandy Koufax, from 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
Scully was also the national announcer for baseball on NBC, football and golf on CBS, and baseball on CBS Radio for years, endearing himself to fans in 67 seasons with the Dodgers, a record for a station with a team in each sport. In 2010, American Sportscasters Assn. called Scully the greatest sports reporter of all time.
New York-born Vincent Edward Scully joined the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 22 as the No. 3 announcer to start the 1950 season, eight years before the team moved west to Los Angeles. He was coached by Red Barber, the pre-eminent baseball voice of his day, who had been impressed that Scully had made a solo radio call of a Maryland-Boston University football game in 1949 from an outdoor press box in Fenway Park in the November cold without complaint.
A dream came true for Scully.
“When I was 8 years old, I wrote a composition for the nuns in which I said I wanted to be a sports announcer,” he once said. “That wouldn’t mean anything today — everyone watches TV and radio — but back in New York, Saturday afternoon college football on the radio was the only thing we really had. Where high school boys wanted to be police officers and firefighters and girls wanted to be ballet dancers and nurses, here’s this kid saying, “I want to be a sports announcer.” I mean, it was really out of the blue.”
Scully’s standing rose quickly in a New York market that featured not only Barber with the Dodgers, but also Mel Allen with the Yankees, and Russ Hodges and former Dodger announcer Ernie Harwell with the New York Giants. At 25 in 1953, Scully became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series, a record he still holds.
Barber left that fall to join Allen with the Yankees. Scully was the Dodgers’ #1 voice when The Boys of Summer finally won their first World Series in 1955. It was also Scully on the microphone at the end of the national broadcast of Don Larsen’s World Series 1956 Perfect game of the Yankees vs. Brooklyn.
When the Dodgers were evicted from Ebbets Field after the 1957 season, the New York-born former Fordham U. outfielder came with them. The Dodgers were a seventh-ranked team in their first season in Los Angeles, but Scully was immediately credited with helping tie the franchise to its new city. With the rise in popularity of transistor radios, many fans who frequented the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum listened to Scully and colleague Jerry Doggett during games, which was highlighted one day in 1960 when Scully convinced the crowd to share a referee with ” to shout Happy Birthday”.
The Dodgers surprised baseball by coming back to win the 1959 World Series in just their second season in Southern California, ushering in what may have been the heyday of the Dodgers and Scully, with Maury Wills baserunning and pitching by Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, which led Los Angeles to World Series titles in 1963 and 1965. Scully’s Call of Koufax’s fourth no-hitter, a perfect play on September 9, 1965, remains a miracle to this day.
“It’s 9:46 p.m. two and two for Harvey Kuenn, a strike away. Sandy in his windup, here’s the field… Sweep and miss, perfect game!” Scully exclaimed before pausing for 39 seconds to allow Dodger Stadium’s cheering to take over.
“On the right field scoreboard it is 9:46 p.m. in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. And a crowd of 29,139 spectators just about to see the only pitcher in baseball history to hurl four no-hit, no-run games. He’s done it four years in a row, and now he’s crowning it by making it a perfect game on his fourth no-hitter. And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikes, did it with excitement. He knocked out the last six consecutive batters. So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record books, that ‘K’ stands out even more than the OUFAX.”
Scully is extremely well read, and mixed quotes from great works into his play-by-play (while also becoming known for refusing to fire on-air for the team that employed him). His mix of improvised eloquence and sense of drama became his trademark in the years that followed. After calling Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th career home for a national telecast in 1974, Scully said nothing for nearly two minutes before commenting.
“What a wonderful moment for baseball,” Scully said. “What a wonderful moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a wonderful moment for the country and the world. A black man gets a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking the all-time baseball idol record. And it’s a great moment for all of us and especially for Hank Aaron.”
Such was Scully’s longevity that he broadcast for more than three decades after being elected to the Broadcaster’s wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
His flair was hardly limited to baseball: his announcement of Dwight Clark’s game-winning catch in the 1982 NFC Championship game is also considered an all-time classic. Scully often found herself in the entertainment world, whether as the host of the 1969-70 game show It Takes Two or as the play-by-play announcer on Kevin Costner’s lead man For Love of the Game.
But perhaps most of all, Scully will be remembered for his words when a sore-legged Kirk Gibson unexpectedly hobbled to the plate in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series for an underdog team the Dodgers, and it was a full-on performance against Dennis, the game’s towering assist provided Eckerley.
“Ball flying into right field. She’s gone!” Scully called before watching the rickety Gibson make it around the bases. “In a year so unlikely, the impossible happened.”
Scully twice suffered personal tragedy. 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 spoke about his personal life and actively discouraged others from doing the same; he specifically avoided the idea of writing a memoir.
Well into his 80s, Scully played every inning of more than 100 games a year on television without a break. (Marathons were nothing new to Scully, who called out a 10-inning daytime game in Chicago for NBC on June 3, 1989, and then a 22-inning Dodger game in Houston that night.)
He eventually reduced his workload by limiting himself to games west of Colorado during the regular season. Nevertheless, until 2016 at the age of 88, he could not bring himself to give up his profession, which he had valued for so long.
After announcing his final game, he offered a farewell message, saying: “You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart that I’ve always needed you more than you’ve ever needed me, and I I will miss our time together more than I can say. But, you know what? There will be a new day and finally a new year. And when the coming winter gives way to spring, rest assured it will be “Dodger Baseball Time” again. So this is Vin Scully wishing you a pleasant good afternoon wherever you may be.”
“I never thought about being great,” Scully said diversity in 2008. “All I wanted to do was make the game as good as possible. And to this day I only think about it. I mean, I come here, (and) my whole idea is to be ready to play the game, and if I do it well enough, fine, and if I make a mistake, then I’ll go all the way home chew up.
“I always felt like I didn’t really achieve anything. What I’ve done is share a lifetime of speaking about the achievements of others… It’s a privilege – it really is, and I consider it a privilege. I really don’t take myself seriously.”
Scully is survived by four children and two stepchildren, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His second wife Sandra died in 2021.
https://variety.com/2022/sports/obituaries-people-news/vin-scully-dead-los-angeles-dodgers-announcer-1235332138/ Vin Scully dead: The Los Angeles Dodgers announcer was 94