Scully endeared himself to fans of all teams with his folksy but straightforward ways during a career that included Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, and Clayton Kershaw.
Vin Scully, the beloved Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster who informed and entertained generations of baseball fans over a six-decade career, died Tuesday at the age of 94.
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Scully’s death on Tuesday evening.
In a statement, Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten said, “We have lost an icon.” “His voice will forever be heard and etched in all of our minds.”
His down-home demeanor, epitomized by his broadcast greeting, “Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be,” transcended generations of baseball legend.
When the team was still in Brooklyn, Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese were regulars on the field. He followed the team west, entertaining fans for the next five decades with the likes of Sandy Koufax, Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, and Clayton Kershaw.
“Nobody understands baseball like Vin Scully,” Jim Murray, the Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist, wrote in 1983. “Scully is the world’s best at passing the time by spinning anecdotes from the game’s 100-year history.”
“He can take you away from a 13-3 game… and transport you to a time and place where you are suddenly watching Babe Ruth steal home,” Murray wrote. “He’s a fantastic raconteur who can make you forget you’re in a dungeon.”
Scully usually worked alone, providing color and play-by-play during his broadcasts, as well as providing often overlooked facts and decades of perspective. And, despite being paid by the Dodgers, Scully was as objective as a broadcaster can be, praising an opponent’s performance while criticizing a Dodger manager’s decision.
In an interview of his final season in 2016,before retiring from broadcasting, he described his approach to the job as “kind of a running commentary with an imaginary friend.”
After a brief stint with CBS in Washington, DC, Scully began his Dodgers radio and television career in 1950 with future Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber. Scully, then 25, became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game three years later.
“Vin Scully had one of the best voices in sports.” He was a giant of a man, not only as a broadcaster, but also as a humanitarian, according to Kasten. “He adored people.” He was passionate about life. He was a die-hard Dodgers fan.”
Vincent Edward Scully was born in the Bronx on November 29, 1927, and was only 7 years old when his father died of pneumonia and his mother relocated the family to Brooklyn, home of the Dodgers.
Scully grew up in the streets playing stickball and listening to college football games on the family radio. Scully began broadcasting games for the college radio station after playing outfield for the Fordham University baseball team for two years.
Scully joined the Dodgers in 1958 and would call three perfect games (Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax in 1965, and Dennis Martinez in 1991) and 18 no-hitters during his 67-year career.
In 1974, Scully was broadcasting the Dodgers-Braves game when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
“In the Deep South, a Black man is getting a standing ovation for breaking an all-time baseball idol’s record,” Scully told listeners, well aware of the cultural significance. “What a fantastic time for baseball.”
He is also remembered for calling Kirk Gibson’s dramatic pinch-hit homerun in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics. “The impossible has happened in a year that has been so improbable,” Scully said as Gibson gave his iconic fist pump rounding the bases after his homerun ball sailed over the right-field fence to give the Dodgers a 5-4 victory.
Scully was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, and the main gate at Dodger Stadium was named in his honor in 2016.
After retiring in 2016, Scully made a few appearances at Dodger Stadium as a fan favorite. Despite his widespread popularity, he stated in 2016 that he did not want to be remembered as a sportscaster, but rather as “the very normal guy that I am.” “All I want to be remembered for is being a good man, an honest man, and someone who lived up to his own beliefs.”
Scully auctioned off personal mementos from his decades in sports in 2020, raising over $2 million, a portion of which was donated to ALS research, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was predeceased by his wife of 47 years, Sandra, who died in 2021 from ALS complications at the age of 76.