In the first season that Vin Scully called games for the Brooklyn Dodgers Connie Mack was still managing. Think about that. The current Los Angeles Dodgers announcer is zero degrees of professional separation removed from a man who was born eight months before the Battle of Gettysburg.
Vin Scully was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and he is still at it 33 years later. He was enshrined in the National Radio Hall of Fame twenty years ago. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a street named for him in Vero Beach where the Dodgers used to go to spring training, the press box in Dodger stadium is named for him… And Vin Scully is still working games. No wonder younger listeners can be excused for thinking his real first name is “Legendary.”
Vincent Edward Scully was born in the Bronx in 1927 and grew up in Manhattan. He served two years in the United States Navy at the end of World War II and then returned to Fordham University where he played centerfield on the baseball team, sang in a barbershop quartet, was assistant sports editor for the school newspaper and called games on the campus FM radio station which he helped found. After graduation he blanketed the East Coast with resumes and got one response, but it led to a job as a fill-in with a CBS Radio affiliate in Washington, D.C.
He made his first mark as a college football announcer under the guidance of revered announcer Red Barber who was the sports director for the CBS Radio Network. In 1950, he began working with Barber and Connie Desmond on Brooklyn Dodger games. In 1953, Barber demanded more money to do the World Series and the 25-year old Scully was hired to replace him – no one younger has ever called a World Series game. When Barber left the Dodgers after the season Scully became the lead announcer – a role which has continued for over 60 years. After the Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1958 he was offered a chance to go back to New York with the Yankees in 1964 but turned it down.
Vin Scully has called three prefect games, 25 World Series and been behind the mic for five Dodger world championships. In an era of two- and three-man booths Scully works alone, continuing to paint audio portraits for the mind in his 88th year. He calls all nine innings of home games and the first three innings are simulcast on radio so Dodger fans can all hear him. He also travels to away games in the division but in 2015 has announced plans to just do the away games in Anaheim – but all options are open.
While other long-tenured broadcasters have forgotten scores and fumbled play by play in their twilight years Scully seems impervious to time. His trademark has always been the anecdotes and backstories he seamlessly inserts into the game calls. His preparation for the broadcasts is without peer.
Scully has spread his announcing wings in the past, doing football games for CBS and golf for NBC. The overlapping seasons occasionally caused Scully to be absent from the Dodgers’ booth but he did not miss an opening day for illness until a chest cold sidelined him in 2012. In 2014 a bout with bronchitis forced him to miss two games, including a no-hitter by Josh Beckett. It was the first Dodger no-hitter that Scully had missed. He has called 13 for Los Angeles and nine for the opposition.
This is the 132nd season of Dodger baseball and Vin Scully has been behind the mic for half of those seasons. “It’s time for Dodger baseball! Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good day to you, wherever you may be.”