The very first time I listened to a baseball broadcast, I was treated
to Vin Scully. I didn't know at the time how good he was because I had
no frame of reference. I was just a young boy living in Pasadena,
listening to my crystal operated transistor radio (inspired by
Sputnik). It was something I found interesting and I could get a good
signal while doing my homework or laying in bed.
That was my experience with baseball until I got into Little League.
Then my coach took me to a Dodger game at Dodger stadium. That night
Sandy Koufax pitched a no hitter and most of the people attending the
game listened to Vin tell the story on their transistor radios!
There was no television coverage at that time. That is one of those
transformational moments I will never forget as Scully described the
ninth inning and the pressure on both Koufax and his teammates. The
crowd was so quiet you could hear transistor radio broadcasts
throughout the stadium.
Vin's word painting, his skill at describing the electricity in the
air, is beyond normal. That radio moment is still played in the
Baseball Hall of Fame, and revered by radio professionals all over the
Vin Scully broadcast Dodger games for 67 consecutive years! He started
the year I was born. He is the Voice of My Generation.
I listened to him describe many of the Dodgers' most historic moments,
as well as NFL games ("...Montana ... looking, looking, throwing in
the endzone ... Clark caught it! Dwight Clark! ... It's a madhouse at
Candlestick!"), women's tennis, the PGA and he brought a unique point
of view to The Masters in Augusta.
Scully's call of Kirk Gibson's game winning walk-off home run in the
1988 World Series will always bring chills down my spine. Later,
Scully retells the story of Tommy Lasorda behind the scenes, asking
the injured Gibson if he could stand up long enough to bat, and only
at the last possible minute he decides to stagger up to the plate on a
seriously damaged knee.
He has had so many special moments in the history of professional
sports, it is almost unbelievable.
Vin Scully represents to me the best of broadcasting talent and ethos.
As a trailblazer in an industry experiencing explosive growth in the
second half of the 20th century, he set the bar very high. There have
been many DJ's, sportscasters, news anchors, talk show hosts,
interviewers and singers that captured my attention in those days, but
there was no one who could mesmerize his audience for 2 or 3 hours
like Vin Scully.
Scully was always a proud American who consistently gave thanks to God
and to his country for giving him the chance to live his dream. Always
a strong supporter of Americanism, in 2017 Scully stated that he would
"never watch another NFL game again" due to some of the league's
players kneeling during the pregame playing of our national anthem. He
was more than a play-by-play man, he was a great storyteller, a great
American patriot and I can only hope some of that rubbed off on me.