Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster for 67 years, dies at 94
Hall of Fame broadcaster Wayne Scully, whose soft tunes provided the soundtrack to summer and entertained and informed Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night. He was 94.
Scully died at his home in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, the team announced after notifying family members. No cause of death was provided.
“He was the best player ever,” Clayton Kershaw said after the Dodgers’ game in San Francisco. “Just a special man. Thankful and grateful to have known him so well.”
As the longest tenured player with one team in professional sports history, Scully has seen them all and named them all. He started with Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson in the 1950s, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax in the 1960s, Steve Garvey and Don Sutton in the 1970s, and Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela in the 1980s. In the 1990s, it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Numo, followed by Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in the 21st century.
You gave me the name of my wild horse. You gave me love. You held me like a father.
The Dodgers changed players, managers, executives, owners — and even beaches — but Scully and his calming, enlightening style remained a constant for the fans.
He began the programs with the familiar greeting: “Hello everyone, good evening to you wherever you are.”
Ever affable, both in person and on air, Scully saw himself as merely a conduit between the game and the fans.
“His voice played a memorable role in some of the greatest moments in the history of our sport,” said Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. “
After the Dodgers’ 9-5 win, the Giants posted a video tribute to Scully.
“There’s no better storyteller, and I think everybody considers him family,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Although he was paid by the Dodgers, Scully wasn’t afraid to criticize a bad game or a manager’s decision, or praise an opponent while spinning stories against a backdrop of routine performances and notable accomplishments. He always said that he wanted to see things with his eyes and not with his heart.
“We have lost an icon. His voice will always be heard and will be forever etched in all of our minds,” said team president and CEO Stan Kasten.
Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927 in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk merchant who died of pneumonia when Scully was 7 years old. Her mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where the red-haired, blue-eyed Scully played stickball in the streets.
As a child, Scully would take a pillow, put it under the family’s four-legged radio, and put his head directly under the speaker to hear every college football game on the air. With a snack of saltine crackers and a glass of milk, the boy was startled by the roar of the crowd that elicited goosebumps. He thought he was going to call the action himself.
A two-year outfielder for Fordham University’s baseball team, Scully began his career covering baseball, football and basketball games for the university’s radio station.
At the age of 22, he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, DC
He soon joined Hall of Famers Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the radio and television booths of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1953, at age 25, Scully became the youngest person to pitch a World Series game, a mark that still stands.
He headed west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully pitched three perfect games — Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991 — and 18 no-hitters.
He also broke the streak when Don Drysdale went 58 2/3 scoreless innings in 1968, and 20 years later Hershiser broke the record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings.
When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, it was against the Dodgers, and of course Scully called it.
“A black man in the Deep South is being applauded for breaking the all-time baseball bat record,” Scully told listeners. “What an amazing moment for baseball.”
Scully considers the birth of the transistor radio “the biggest failure” of his career. In the Dodgers’ first four years at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, fans had less trouble recognizing the players.
“They were about 70 odd rows away from the race,” he said in 2016.
This habit continued when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans held radios to their ears, and those who weren’t there listened from home or cars, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words.
He often said that it’s best to describe a big show quickly and then be quiet so fans can listen to the hype. After Koufax’s complete game in 1965, Scully was silent for 38 seconds before speaking again. He was similarly silent for a while after Kirk Gibson’s game-winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that year, and had the stadium’s press box named after him in 2001. The street leading to Dodger Stadium’s main gate was named in his honor in 2016. .
That same year, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
“God has been so good to me to let me do what I do,” Scully, a devout Catholic who attended Mass on Sundays before going to the racetrack, said before retiring. A childhood dream that came true and then gave me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. “This is a very big Thanksgiving for me.”
In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully has called NFL games and PGA Tour events as well as calling 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was the lead baseball announcer for NBC from 1983 to 1989.
While Scully was one of the most talked-about broadcasters in the country, he was an intensely private man. When the baseball season was over, he would disappear. He rarely made personal appearances or sports talk shows. He preferred to spend time with his family.
In 1972, his first wife, Joan, died of an accidental drug overdose. He was left with three young children. Two years later, he met the woman who would become his second wife, Sandra, a secretary for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. He had two young children from a previous marriage, and they blended their families into what Scully once called “my own Brady Bunch.”
He said that he realized that time is the most valuable thing in the world and he wants to use his time to spend with his loved ones. In the early 1960s, Scully quit smoking with the help of his family. Scully stuck a family photo in the shirt pocket where she kept a pack of cigarettes. Whenever he feels the need for a cigarette, he pulls out the photo to remind him why he quit smoking. Eight months later, Scully never smoked again.
After retiring in 2016, Scully made only a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium, and his sweet voice was heard narrating an occasional video played during the game. Mostly, he was content to stay close to home.
“I just want to be remembered as a good guy, an honest guy, and someone who lived up to his beliefs,” he said in 2016.
In 2020, Scully auctioned several years of his personal memorabilia, which raised over $2 million. A portion of it was donated to UCLA for ALS research.
He was preceded in death by his second wife, Sandra. He died in 2021 at the age of 76 from complications of ALS. The couple, who were married for 47 years, had a daughter, Catherine.
The other children are Scully, Kelly, Erin, Todd and Kevin. A boy named Michael died in a helicopter crash in 1994.
Former Associated Press employee Stan Miller provided biographical information for this report.
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