Now that I’m done with the Best/Worst Sports TV Themes, it’s time to move to another topic and this one is perfect now that we’re in the summer season. Baseball is a sport that lends itself to radio and warm weather. Over the next few weeks and as long as I can, I’ll post some of the best calls of the greatest baseball announcers of all time. This first one is a natural subject. Vin Scully of the Los Angeles Dodgers is in his 61st season with the team and goes back to when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn. He moved when owner Walter O’Malley packed the moving vans and decided to go to Los Angeles and he’s been calling games ever since.
Vin was inducted in the broadcasters wing at the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 1991, a member of the Radio Hall of Fame since 1995 and he even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Scully started his career as a fill-in on college football on the CBS Radio Network, recruited by Red Barber, who would become to be his mentor with the Dodgers. He joined the Dodgers in 1950 replacing Ernie Harwell who would go to the New York Giants. In 1953, Vin became the youngest broadcaster to call a World Series at age 25, a record that still stands.
In addition to calling baseball for the Dodgers, he’s called the Game of the Week for NBC from 1983 until 1989, heading World Series coverage in 1984, 1986 and 1988. He was the main broadcaster for CBS Radio and called the Fall Classic from 1979-1982 and again from 1990-1997.
Vin also called the NFL and the PGA Tour for CBS. He was the first voice of the Skins Game when it began on NBC in 1983 and called it on ABC from 1991 until 1996.
Over the last few years, Scully has cut back on his schedule, calling home games and rarely traveling outside of the Pacific and Mountain time zones. He has hinted at retirement, but he hasn’t given the official word as of yet. When he does, Vin will be missed as he’s truly a national treasure, especially to Dodgers fans who have grown up listening to his calls.
Ok, enough of the brief biography and let’s get to some of his best known calls.
This is from April 8, 1974. Henry Aaron faced Al Downing of the Dodgers in Atlanta and hit his record breaking 715th home run, passing Babe Ruth. At the moment the ball cleared the fence, Vin got up from his chair and got a cup of coffee allowing the crowd at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium tell the story for 90 seconds. And then he had the perfect words to describe what was happening.
Here’s a rare recording of Vin calling Sandy Koufax’s first of his four no-hitters on June 30, 1962 against the New York Mets. We have the fascinating story of how this recording came to fruition as game audio recordings were rarely done in those days. Here’s a short excerpt of the no-hitter.
From September 9, 1965, we have the audio of Vin’s call of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. This the entire 9th inning and the description is just tremendous. When the transcript published verbatim in a book, readers could not believe it was spoken because the words were grammatically correct. Just enjoy the next 10 minutes and 50 seconds.
Ok, you’ve heard why Vin put timechecks into his call of the Koufax perfect game. Let’s now go to July 20, 1970 and the last three outs of the Bill Singer no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies. Keep that in mind when you hear the next 9:37 of the call. This comes off a record made a few weeks after the no-hitter so you’ll hear some pops in the audio.
Let’s jump to last year’s National League Division Series between the Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals and listen to Vin’s excellent call of Mark Loretta’s walk off base hit in Game 2.
Lastly, here’s Vin informing his audience earlier this month on Fox Sports Prime Ticket of the passing of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. As usual, Vin finds the right words and uses Shakespeare to describe Wooden.
Next week, I’ll post calls of another great baseball announcer.