Vin Scully, Our Connection to Dodgers History
Baseball gets a bad rap at times for being an old-fashioned game, reveling in the past and unable to change with the times. I’ll be the first to admit that baseball struggles with its image in a high-speed, slam-dunk, insane-one-handed-touchdown-catch world, but there are still facets of our game that basketball and football can never compete with. Exhibit A is the fabled career of a certain Irish red-head named Vin Scully.
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Entering his 66th year in the broadcast booth, a career that has spanned Dodgers history from Brooklyn to LA, from Robinson to Rollins, Koufax to Kershaw, Pee Wee to Fernando, Ebbets to Chavez Ravine and from black-and-white to 4K, Vin Scully has seen it all. Few people have witnessed as much baseball history as The Voice of the Dodgers, and I wanted to layout five of the biggest and best moments this man has witnessed.
1953 World Series, Game 1
On September 30, 1953, doing the television broadcast at the tender age of 25, Vin Scully became the youngest announcer to ever call a World Series game. The ’53 World Series was contested between the Yankees and then Brooklyn Dodgers with the Bronx Bombers winning the title in six games. The Dodgers boasted such future Hall of Famers that year as Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, and Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson Steals Home, 1955 World Series, Game 1
Once again, the Yankees and Dodgers battled in the World Series, with Dem Bums from Brooklyn finally winning their first world title in seven games. Game 1, 8th inning, trailing 6-4, Jackie Robinson bolts from third and steals home, sliding in just under the tag of an irate Yogi Berra. The Dodgers lost that particular game (as well as Game 2) but fought back to win four of the next five, finally besting their New York neighbors.
Don Larsen’s Perfect Game
There has only been one perfect game pitched in the 110-year history of the World Series. October 8, 1956. Game 5. Again it was the Brooklyn Dodgers taking on their Big Brother rivals with the Yankees winning the series in seven games. In Game 5, Don Larsen, who finished 11-5 that season, pitched a gem (an understatement), blanking the Dodgers on his way to a 2-0 victory. Who better to be on the mic for such an historic masterpiece than Vin Scully, painting pictures in the minds of listeners around the nation.
Call to the Pen
Sandy Koufax’s Perfect Game
On September 9, 1965, now in Los Angeles, Mr. Scully called another beauty, this one by Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax. Scully’s call of the game against the Cubs has been described as baseball literature. He took the events of the 9th inning in particular and wrung out every drop of emotion, perfecting the art form, a play-by-play man turned storyteller.
Hammering Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run
On April 8, 1974, Henry “Hank” Aaron broke one of baseball’s most treasured and prestigious records, the all-time home runs record set by Babe Ruth nearly 4 decades earlier. As blind chance would have it, Aaron’s Braves were playing the Dodgers and you-know-who once again was able to bear witness to baseball history.
There are hundreds, possibly thousands of other amazing calls Mr. Scully has made over the course of sixty-five seasons. I am sure each Dodger fan has their own personal Top 10. The man is like a direct connection from baseball’s golden age to the present. As we head into the 2015 season, take extra time this summer to appreciate Mr. Scully on the radio when you have the chance. He doesn’t call every game, and he won’t be on the mic forever. In our modern age of speed, flash, and hurry-up offenses, Mr. Scully still gives us our best example of what it means to slow down and enjoy our national pastime.