Dodgers mourn the passing of Vin Scully

He was the voice of the Dodgers, and so much more. 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.

Vin died Tuesday at the age of 94 at his home in Hidden Hills.

“We have lost an icon,” Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten said. “The Vin Scully Dodgers were one of the greatest voices in all of sports. He was a giant of a man, not just as a broadcaster, but as a humanitarian. He loved people. He loved life. “He loved baseball and the Dodgers. And he loved his family. His voice will always be heard and etched in all of our minds forever. I know he couldn’t wait to join the love of his life, Sandi. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family during this very difficult time.Vin will be truly missed.

Vin has reached millions and millions through his work, and not just covering the Boys in Blue. For years he was a national TV and radio anchor for baseball, golf and football. In the 1982 NFC Championship game between San Francisco and Dallas, his catch call from Dwight Clark’s backcourt became an instant classic. In 2010, the American Sportscasters Association named Vin the greatest sportscaster of the 20th century.

But when you think of Vin, you think of the Dodgers. And when you think of the Dodgers, you think of Vin. No other broadcaster in history – in sports or beyond – has been more clearly identified with an organization. And it all came from a deceptively simple approach.

I’ve always tried to make the players human beings – individuals – rather than mechanical dolls on the pitch running around. So I always looked for the human side of the game, if I can find it. This is the character that I try to paint, the character that man represents himself. I think it helps, especially when a team is struggling and you have something interesting to say about someone. I think on the other end a listener might appreciate it.

Vincent Edward Scully was born in New York on November 29, 1927, and when radio was new and television was an apparition of the future, he dreamed of the life he would eventually inhabit.

When I was 8 years old, I wrote a composition for the nuns saying that I wanted to be a sports commentator. Where high school boys wanted to be police and firefighters and girls wanted to be ballet dancers and nurses, here’s this kid who says, “I want to be a sportscaster.” I mean it was really out of the blue.

After attending Fordham University – where he played in the outfield – the opportunity presented itself to Vin in 1949. Given only one chance to go solo on the radio during a football game from the University of Maryland-Boston, he was relegated to an outdoor press box at Fenway Park in the freezing cold. He carried out his duties without complaint, which impressed a man named Red Barber.

Barber was the Dodgers’ main announcer at the time, and months later, when they were looking for a No. 3 man to join him and Connie Desmond, “Young Scully” (as Red would say) got the job. . He was 22 years old.

Vin’s profile rose rapidly. At 25 in 1953, he became the youngest to broadcast a world series. Two years later, after Barber left to join Mel Allen with the Yankees, Vin was the Dodgers’ No. 1 voice announcer when “the summer boys” finally won their first World Series in 1955. after that, he called the end of the national broadcast of Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series Perfect Game – one of more than 20 unsuccessful Vins aired during his career.

When the Dodgers came west in 1958, to finish seventh in the National League that year, it was Vin as much as anyone who tied the franchise to his new town. Fans — not just around town, but at the games themselves at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — were listening on their new transistor radios to Vin and fellow actor Jerry Doggett. In a time long before “interactive” became a buzzword, it would be Vin encouraging the crowd to shout “Happy Birthday” to a referee or ask them to help them conduct a two-day experiment. seconds.

A trip to the 1959 World Series – ushered in by Vin’s famous call “We’re going to Chicago!” – the first of four National League pennants and three World Series titles over eight seasons, made Los Angeles and Vin inseparable. On September 9, 1965, Koufax gives Vin the opportunity to appeal for the ages.

It’s 9:46 p.m. Two and two for Harvey Kuenn, one shot away. Sandy in his liquidation, here’s the pitch. … Chained and missed, a perfect match!

On the bulletin board in right field, it’s 9:46 p.m. in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. And a crowd of 29,139 seated to see the only pitcher in baseball history to pitch four games without a hit or run. He’s done it four straight years, and now he’s crowning it: On his fourth no-hitter, he made it a perfect game. And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with a bang. He struck out the last six consecutive batters. So when he writes his name in all caps in the record books, that ‘K’ stands out even more than the OUFAX.”

If asked, Vin would belittle his own abilities with words, but he was arguably the most gifted linguist to ever broadcast a sporting event, a chef mingling Shakespearean sacrifices – and possessing the bard’s inherent sense of drama. When Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run in April 1974, Vin stood quietly on the sidelines for nearly two minutes, before speaking.

What a wonderful time for baseball. What a wonderful time for Atlanta and the State of Georgia. What a wonderful time for the country and the world. A black man receives 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 Henry Aaron.

Even as others crowned him as the best in his field, Vin’s head never swelled. His humility was evident in 1982, when he was elected to the broadcaster wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

If I’m going to be honest with you and myself today, I have to ask the same question when good fortune comes my way, “Why me?” Why, with millions upon millions more deserving, would a red-haired kid with holey pants and a loose shirttail, playing stickball on the streets of New York, end up in Cooperstown? Why me, indeed? I don’t have the answer… but I know how I feel. I want to sing, I want to dance, I want to laugh, I want to scream, I want to cry and I want to pray. I would like to pray with humility and a great Thanksgiving.

Remarkably, after this lifetime feat, Vin would broadcast for 34 more seasons, concluding his career as a Dodger broadcaster starting with the last game in San Francisco on October 2, 2016. He would broadcast his last home game on September 25, 2016 at Dodger Stadium . . During his senior season, the City of Los Angeles renamed Elysian Park Avenue to 1000 Vin Scully Avenue in his honor.

His 67 seasons with the Dodgers represents the longest tenure of any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history.

In addition to his Hall of Fame honor, Vin received the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award in 2014 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 2016. On May 3, 2017, the Dodgers inducted Vin into their Ring of Honor.

His great career includes the moment, Oct. 15, 1988, when a gimpy Kirk Gibson unexpectedly limped to the plate in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series for an underdog Dodger team that trailed with two outs late in the game. ninth, and worked the full count against the game’s preeminent reliever, Dennis Eckersley.

High-flying ball in right field. She left!

In a year that has been so unlikely, the impossible has happened.

Vin cherished his life as much as we cherished him. He rarely looked back except when invited to, and on those occasions he offered the perspective of life that only he could capture and convey, a perspective formed during his freshman year with the Dodgers in 1950.

Going back to the end, if I went back to the end, I would think of Carl Furillo, for example. The Dodgers were playing the Phillies, the last game of the year, the winner moves on to the World Series. And it was a great game, Don Newcombe and Robin Roberts, two great pitchers of that era. And long story short, the Dodgers lost that game — 10th inning led by Dick Sisler — and I went down to the clubhouse to sympathize. It was my first year. I walked by, and there was an open door and I saw a station wagon piled high with stuff on it, and I thought, “Well, only a player can park there.” And I thought, ‘Why would a player be willing to go home? Don’t you think he would think about winning and staying?’ And I said ‘Whose cart is this?’ And they said, ‘Oh, it’s Carl Furillo.’ Well, Carl Furillo was a solid blue collar worker, he worked hard day in and day out, and I said, “I saw you were packed.” And he said, ‘Yeah, you either do it or you don’t.’ And that really struck me as a complete professional. ‘You either do it or you don’t.’

For Dodger fans, Vin Scully has always done it. And it’s our sorrow to say goodbye.

Scully leaves behind five children—Kevin, Todd, Erin, Kelly and Catherine, 21 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

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