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

Obit Scully Baseball (AP2010)

Obit Scully Baseball (AP2010)

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose dulcet tones provided the soundtrack of the summer as he entertained and informed Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night, the team said. He was 94.

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

As the longest tenured single-team broadcaster in pro sports history, Scully saw it all and called it all. He began in the 1950s with Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, through the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, into the 1970s with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, and through the 1980s with Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela. In the 1990s it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo, followed by Clayton Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in the 21st century.

The Dodgers changed players, managers, leaders, owners — and even coasts — but Scully and his calming, insightful style remained a constant for fans.

He opened broadcasts with the well-known greeting “Hello everyone, and a very pleasant evening to you wherever you may be”.

Always gracious in person and on air, Scully considered himself merely a conduit between the game and the fans.

Although he was paid by the Dodgers, Scully was not afraid to criticize a bad game or a manager’s decision, or to praise an opponent while spinning stories against a backdrop of routine plays and remarkable performances. He always said he wanted to see things with his eyes, not his heart.

Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927 in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk salesman who died of pneumonia when Scully was 7. 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 take a pillow, put it under the family’s four-legged radio, and put her head right under the speaker to hear what football game was on the air. With a snack of pretzels and a glass of milk nearby, the boy was confused by the crowd’s goosebumps. He thought he would call the action himself.

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

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

He soon joined Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ radio and television booths. In 1953, at age 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 called three perfect games – 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 scoreless streak to 58 2/3 innings in 1968 and again when Hershiser broke the record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings 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 record for an all-time baseball idol,” Scully told listeners. “What a great moment for baseball.”

Scully credited the birth of the transistor radio as “the single biggest break” of his career. Fans had trouble recognizing the smaller players during the Dodgers’ first four years in the massive Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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

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

He often said it was best to describe a big play quickly and then be quiet so the fans could listen to the pandemonium. After Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Scully was silent for 38 seconds before speaking again. He was similarly silent for a while after Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit home run to win 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 also 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.

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,” said Scully, a devout Catholic who attended mass on Sundays before going to the ballpark, before retiring. “A childhood dream that came true and then gave me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. That’s a pretty big day of thanks for me.”

In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully called play-by-play for NFL games and PGA Tour events, as well as calling 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was NBC’s lead baseball announcer from 1983-89.

While one of the most listened to broadcasters in the nation, Scully was an intensely private man. Once 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 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 Bunch.”

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

After retiring in 2016, Scully made only a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium, his sweet voice heard narrating the occasional video played during games. For the most part, he was content to stay close to home.

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

In 2020, Scully auctioned off several years of her 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. She died of complications from ALS at the age of 76 in 2021. The couple, who were married for 47 years, had a daughter Catherine together.

Scully’s other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd and Kevin. A 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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