Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster for 67 years, dies at 94

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LOS ANGELES — Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose sweet sounds provided the soundtrack to summer entertaining and informing Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night, the team said. He was 94.

Scully died at his home in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, according to the team, which spoke to family members.

“We have lost an icon,” team president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. “His voice will always be heard and forever etched in our minds.”

As the longest-tenured single-team broadcaster in professional sports history, Scully has seen it all and done it all. He started in the 1950s with Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, in the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, in the 1970s with Steve Harvey and Don Sutton, and through the 1980s with Arel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela. In the 1990s it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Noma, followed in the 21st century by Clayton Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig.

The Dodgers have changed players, managers, executives, owners — and even coasts — but Scully and his calm, insightful style have remained constant with fans.

He began the broadcasts with a familiar greeting: “Hello everyone and have a very nice good evening, wherever you are.”

Always gracious in person and on the air, Scully saw himself as simply a conduit between the game and the fans.

Despite being paid by the Dodgers, Scully wasn’t afraid to criticize a bad game or manager’s decision, or praise an opponent, telling stories amid routine plays and noteworthy accomplishments. He always said that he wanted to see things with his eyes, not his heart.

“Vin Scully was one of the greatest voices in all of sports. He was a great person not only as a broadcaster, but also as a humanitarian,” Kasten said. “He loved people. He loved life. He loved baseball and the Dodgers. And he loved his family. I know he was looking forward to joining the love of his life, Sandy.’

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. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where the red-haired, blue-eyed Scully grew up playing stickball in the streets.

As a child, Scully would grab a pillow, place it under the family’s four-legged radio and put her head directly under the speaker to hear whatever college football game was on the air. With a snack of pretzels and a glass of milk at his side, the boy was stunned by the spine-tingling roar of the crowd. He thought he would like to call the rally himself.

A two-year outfielder for Fordham University’s baseball team, Scully began his career by covering baseball, football and basketball games for the university’s radio station.

At the age of 22, he was hired by the CBS radio affiliate in Washington, DC

He soon joined Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the radio and television booths for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1953, at the age of 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a mark that still stands.

He moved west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully had three perfect games — tied by Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991 — and 18 no-hitters.

He was also on the air when Don Drysdale set his streak to 58 2/3 innings in 1968 and again when Hershiser hit the record with 59 consecutive shutouts 20 years later.

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 gets a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking the baseball idol’s all-time record,” Scully told listeners. “What a wonderful moment for baseball.”

Scully called the birth of the transistor radio “the greatest breakthrough” of his career. Fans struggled to recognize smaller players during the Dodgers’ first four years at the sprawling Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“They were 70 or so rows from the event,” he said in 2016. “They took the radio with them to find out about all the other players and see what they were trying to see on the field.”

This habit continued when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans held radios to their ears, while those not in attendance listened from home or in their cars, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words.

He often said that it’s best to cover a big play quickly and then shut up so the fans can listen to the commotion. After Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Scully fell silent for 38 seconds before speaking again. He was similarly silent for a while after Kirk Gibson’s home run that won 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 same year, and had the stadium’s press box named after him in 2001. The street leading to the main gate of Dodger Stadium was named in his honor in 2016.

In the 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 heading to the stadium, said before retiring. “A childhood dream that came true and then gave me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. It’s a big day of thanksgiving for me.”

In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully has been on the NFL and PGA Tour, calling 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was NBC’s lead baseball announcer from 1983-89.

As one of the most popular broadcasters in the country, Scully was a very private man. After the baseball season ended, he disappeared. He rarely appeared in person or on sports talk shows. He preferred to spend time with his family.

In 1972, his first wife, Joan, died of an accidental drug overdose. Left with three small children. Two years later, he met the woman who would become his second wife, Sandra, a secretary for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. She had two young children from a previous marriage, and they combined their families into what Scully once called “my own Brady group.”

He said that he realized that time is the most valuable thing in the world and that he wants to use it to spend time with his loved ones. In the early 1960s, Scully quit smoking with the help of his family. Scully tucked a family photo into his shirt pocket, where he kept a pack of cigarettes. Whenever he felt like he needed to smoke, he pulled out a photo to remind him why he quit. Eight months later, Scully never smoked again.

Since retiring in 2016, Scully has made only a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium, with his sweet voice occasionally narrating videos during games. Mostly he was content to sit close to home.

“I just want to be remembered as a good person, an honest person and a person who lived up to his beliefs,” he said in 2016.

In 2020, Scully auctioned off years of personal memorabilia that raised more than $2 million. A portion of it was donated to the University of California, Los Angeles for ALS research.

He was preceded in death by his second wife, Sandra. She died of complications from ALS at the age of 76 in 2021. The couple, who were married for 47 years, gave birth to a daughter, Catherine.

Scully’s other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd and Kevin. Son Michael died in a helicopter crash in 1994.

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Former Associated Press staffer Stan Miller contributed biographical information to this report.

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Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster for 67 years, dies at 94

Source link Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster for 67 years, dies at 94