If there’s one name synonymous with the Dodgers, it’s not a player, manager or any team official. It’s Vin Scully.
Every Dodgers game began this way for fans at home and in the stadium for more than half a century: “It’s Dodger Baseball time!”
When the Dodgers still played in Brooklyn, Vin Scully began broadcasting games on radio and television. Until he retired after the 2016 season, he devoted more time to one team than any other sports announcer in history.
In a tweet, the Dodgers announced the death of Vin Scully. He was 94 years old.
In addition to his longevity, Scully had many other qualities that made him great. The prodigious baseball knowledge he possessed wasn’t what made him so special. His distinctive voice, poetic asides, and ability to connect personally with listeners made him stand out.
From the beginning, it was there. One memorable at-bat in 1957 was for Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Joe Pignatano. Scully wanted to ensure that the player’s family didn’t miss the broadcast. You might know the Pignatanos. If you do, maybe his wife is taking care of the baby and not paying attention to the game. Give her a call. Looks like Joe is going to break into the Major Leagues tonight.”
Former Brooklyn and Los Angeles broadcaster Larry King remembered Vin Scully. In a game one year when the Dodgers were out of contention, King said, “There’s a comfort zone. You feel at home.” He said the sound of Scully’s voice was mesmerizing. “A meaningless game. I’m driving from L.A. to San Diego. I turn on the game and I can’t turn it off.”
The team included Scully as well as the players. People brought radios to Dodger Stadium that emitted Scully’s voice. It was preferred by some fans, such as Cary Gepner, that he read the play-by-play on radio rather than on television. “You can listen to Vin Scully call a baseball game and you don’t need to watch the game because he paints a better picture than the television could ever paint. I love him.”
Vin Scully had baseball statistics ready. But he didn’t rely on them. He once said, “Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamp post: for support, not illumination.”
It was because of the stories he told. They came from baseball, Shakespeare, and anything else that caught his interest. Here’s an example from an interview with KPCC, a member station: “We were playing on Friday the 13th, and I was thinking, “I wonder why the backdrop of Friday the 13th is such a huge deal?” So I researched it up, and it dates back to the 1800s.”
As a result, viewers learnt something new in between pitches. He captured the thrill of a huge occasion on the field. And he had a lot of major moments in his career. Sandy Koufax is set to pitch a perfect game in 1965: