Icon? Broadcaster? Professional? We could all come up with a list of descriptive labels in an attempt to describe Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully but none of them can begin to capture what he is and what he means to me and so many others. Vin Scully is one of a kind. A once in a lifetime blessing we are lucky enough to co-exist with in this time.
Vin has been the California Radio Broadcaster of the Year an unprecedented 28 times. He was voted, by his peers, as the Greatest Sports Broadcaster of the 20'th Century. He was presented with the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I will stop there with his list of accomplishments because I don't have the time to sit here and write that long and that is not what I want to convey here today. It is not the awards Vin has accumulated but instead the awards he has given to us that I'd like to talk about today.
When Greg Papa, a respected broadcaster in his own right, recently interviewed Vin he opened by addressing him with , "Mr. Scully". Vin quickly let him know that he was "Vin" and always had been. With a respectful grin Mr. Papa continued by asking. "Vin, are you planning on coming back for another season next year"? Vin's reply, "If you want to make God smile go ahead and tell him your plans". It is humility like that and a grace seldom, if ever, displayed in our culture these days, that help set Vin Scully apart.
Vin has been broadcasting Dodger baseball since 1950 and has dignified Football, Golf, Tennis and many other events with his call over the years. Along with many fans I grew up listening to him on our porch on a warm summer day. Huddled around a radio at the ball field. Sneaking a listen in school with the earphone wire hidden up our sleeves sitting at our desks and under the covers at night when we were supposed to be asleep. I hear these same descriptions from so many fans now but as a boy I thought I must have been the only one because it felt like I was the only one he was talking to.
When I sat down I thought it would be easy to write this but I have found that there really is no way to describe what Vin Scully has meant to so many. As a broadcaster he has no equal. He is the face of the Dodgers and is more valued by the fans than any player in the organization. Vin Scully is the most popular Dodger of all time and the reason so many are Dodger fans today. I will try to sum this up with words but none come to mind that could possibly do him justice so I will leave it at this.... I love you Vin Scully and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Should I be lucky enough to have you read this please know that you were an amazing influence on my life and the lives of many little boys glued to their radios and listening not just to your call of the events but to your values as well.
Here a just a few of his calls you may remember..........
San Francisco 49'ers cap their 1981 drive against the Dallas Cowboys to earn their first Superbowl trip......
"Montana ...looking, looking, throwing in the endzone...Clark caught it! Dwight Clark!...It's a madhouse at Candlestick"!
Hank Aaron hits his historic 715'th home run against the Dodgers Al Downing....
"What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly Hank Aaron".
Little roller up along first . . . behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!
Scully then remained silent for more than three minutes, letting the pictures and the crowd noise tell the story. Scully resumed with....
"If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets are not only alive, they are well, and they will play the Red Sox in Game 7 tomorrow"!
And finally, Kirk Gibson hits his 1988 home run to beat the A's in game 1.......
"High fly ball into right field, she i-i-i-is... gone"!
Holding to his long-standing belief that the noise of the fans best tells the story, Scully did not speak for 67 seconds before announcing, incredulously,
"In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened"!
Later, Scully said to his broadcast partner (Joe Garagiola) and to the viewers,
"What an opening act, huh? I think we've got a leading man, and many of them, between now and the end of this great 1988 World Series".