Blog #43 (Vin Scully)

By Richard J. Decker on January 9, 2013 7:00 AM

This week there is no legal section of the blog.

Now for the Opening Day memory:

The two things I most vividly remember about meeting and personally interviewing Vin Scully are: (1) standing next to him nervously at the sinks in the Men's Room in Dodger Stadium press area (named after him) while he was clearing his very sore throat and worrying that he was going to be unable to announce that game and upcoming games and thinking that would be a bigger loss to the Dodgers than any of their players; and (2) closing my eyes while I was interviewing and listening to him talk just so I would hear his voice in its purest form while not being distracted by any of my other senses--because I absolutely understood that I was in the presence of a broadcasting god (and this is coming from a Yankee fan).

Vin has been the play by play voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 63 years--since 1950. Just writing that is mind boggling. It is safe to say he is more revered than any Dodgers player, except maybe Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson. In fact, in 1976, he was voted by the fans "most memorable personality in Dodgers history." And that was when he had only been the Dodgers' voice for 26 years. Some of his most famous calls include the only Brooklyn Dodgers World Championship in 1955, Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965, Hank Aaron's 715th home run in 1974 and Kirk Gibson's walk off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Vin was the youngest to ever broadcast a World Series game (in 1953 at the age of 25).

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Vin handled the national broadcast of baseball games at different times for CBS and NBC. From 1975-1982, he also called football games for CBS. His most renowned football call probably was Dwight Clark's catch of the Joe Montana pass that propelled the San Francisco 49ers in 1982 into Super Bowl XVI. Among Vin's numerous and more impressive awards are a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Dodgers press box being named after him, a street near the former Dodgers Vero Beach spring training facility being named after him ("Vin Scully Way") and being elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992. As of this writing, Vin--at the age of 85--continues to broadcast all 81 home Dodger games as well as their West Coast road games. Here are his Opening Day memories, which I wish I could convey by his voice rather than in writing.

VinScully.jpg"Three stand out in my mind. The first was my first as a broadcaster, when I was such a young man--Opening Day at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. I was scared to death, sitting next to Red Barber and Connie Desmond. Thank the good Lord, they took good care of me and got me through it. That was memorable. The second was Opening Day for the Dodgers in the Coliseum here in Los Angeles. Everything was so new and strange. The surroundings were so different than Brooklyn. And the third was when Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. All of a sudden I felt that I was home, as we were in a ballpark as opposed to a football stadium. It was as if we turned the page and were really going to settle in for the long haul."

Vin--thank you--it was a privilege meeting and getting to talk to you. Richie