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Vin Scully

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Vincent Edward Scully

[edit] Biographical Information

Scully (left) autographs a ball for Navy Adm. Mullen and his wife.
"Football is to baseball as blackjack is to bridge." - Vin Scully

Vin Scully is an announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He began his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 and moved to Los Angeles, CA with the club in 1958. He is considered by many to be the greatest broadcaster in history. In 2013, he began his 64th season with the club, the longest affiliation in baseball. He did miss the Dodgers' home opener for the first time that year, fighting a nasty cold that he described as being "only a click away from pneumonia", and then confirmed his return in 2014 later that season.

After studying at Fordham University, he served briefly in the U.S. Navy, where he was part of the radio communications program. He got his start at Washington, DC radio station WTOP in 1949, and caught his big break when he stood in for a more senior colleague in calling play-by-play for a college football game between the University of Maryland and Boston University at Fenway Park that fall. He was noticed by Red Barber, who was the CBS network's sports director, and a few weeks later, when an opening arose in the Dodgers' broadcast booth as a result of Ernie Harwell leaving to broadcast New York Giants games, Scully was hired. Just 22, he worked with Barber and Connie Desmond. He gradually became the team's primary announcer after Barber left to work for the New York Yankees, and Desmond became increasingly unreliable due to alcoholism. He first drew national attention when he worked the 1953 World Series in tandem with Mel Allen, the legendary voice of the Yankees. Jerry Doggett replaced Desmond in 1956, and also moved to L.A. at Vin's insistence, where he continued to work for years.

Baseball fans know Scully's voice instantly because of its smoothness. For many years, Scully was heard nationally calling the All-Star Game and World Series games for CBS Radio and NBC television. Scully also called NFL games on CBS television from 1975 to 1982, as well as tennis and golf.

Among Scully's most famous national calls are Bill Buckner's error in the 1986 World Series and Kirk Gibson's game-winning home run in the 1988 World Series.

Scully is one of the last broadcasters to work solo. Scully calls the first three innings of each Dodgers game alone, with the TV and radio signals simulcast, and then continues for the remainder of the game on TV only. When asked why he goes solo, partner Charley Steiner said "Poets don't need straight men." Scully himself says that broadcasting solo allows him to have a conversation with the listener rather than a broadcasting partner, and this allows a rapport with the listener that could not otherwise occur.

Scully holds records for most World Series as a broadcaster with 28. He also has the longest tenure with one club at 65 seasons (as of 2014). Scully has also been behind the microphone for 20 no-hitters and three perfect games (by Don Larsen, Sandy Koufax, and Dennis Martinez). To underline his tremendous accomplishments, the Dodgers honored him with a bobblehead doll and had him throw the ceremonial first pitch on August 30, 2012.

He has been named California Sportscaster of the Year 21 times. Scully won the Ford Frick Award in 1982. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1995. The American Sportscasters Association named him Broadcaster of the Century in 2000. Historian Curt Smith named Scully the greatest of all time in his 2005 book Voices of Summer. On January 1, 2014, he was the Grand Marshal of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. In September of that year, he was the recipient of the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, the second non-player to receive the prestigious distinction after Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Gary Kaufman: "Vin Scully: For 50 years, an Irish redhead from the Bronx has been the gold standard for baseball announcers", Salon, October 12, 1999 [1]
  • Greg King: "Vin Scully: Greatest Southpaw in Dodgers History", in Jean Hastings Ardell and Andy McCue, ed.: Endless Seasons: Baseball in Southern California, The National Pastime, SABR, Number 41, 2011, pp. 87-93.
  • Vin Scully (as told to Ray Sons): "The Game I'll Never Forget: When Podres Shut Out the Yankees", Baseball Digest, August 1969, pp. 23-24. [2]
  • Curt Smith: Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2009.

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