We’ve got no problems leading you over to the L.A. Times this morning (story linked here), for a piece on how Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully analyzed his performance as a 28-year-old calling the Don Larsen perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, which the new MLB Network has been airing off and on since its Jan. 1 launch.
Scully called the second half of that game — fellow Hall of Famer Mel Allen did the first half — because the Dodgers and Yankees were the two teams involved. Although, you’d have thought Red Barber might have been the Dodgers’ representative on the telecast.
As Bob Costas mentions on the MLB Network show, the great part about watching this game now is there’s no center field camera, no replays, no different angles, very few graphics (except to put the players names in all caps with white letters), the announcers work alone, there’s maybe something missing without any close-ups of the players and no bullpen shots. For a black-and-white telecast, it’s pretty stark.
“On the other hand, the telecast is not cluttered and it has the singular benefit of having two of the greatest announcers ever — Mel Allen and a young Vin Scully.”
The starkness of the broadcast, with Scully seemingly afraid to make a mistake, becomes evident through the call. But our two favorite moments, which aren’t included in the story mentioned above:
== In the top of the second inning, the Dodgers’ Sandy Amoros fouls one back into the press box. Scully alludes to that happening in the story mentioned, that he’s so busy keeping score he doesn’t even say a word when it happens. On the broadcast, Allen finally says: “Fouled back up here. … Vin Scully played baseball at Fordham, but he flinched just a little at that one … he forgot to bring his golve with him today.”
==And as the broadcast goes off the air, Scully and Allen are trying to put the game into perspective.
Allen: “Vin I don’t think you or I will ever see such a thing again.”
Scully: “No, I guess we can both say, that we can go now.”
For posterity’s sake, let’s recap some of the call from Scully, who came in at the bottom of the fifth and worked alone the rest of the game:
==As the top of the ninth began:
“Well, all right, let’s all take a deep breath as we go to the most dramatic moment in the history of baseball … The crowd here at Yankee Stadium, Sixty-four thousand, five hundred and seventeen, will be roaring on every pitch.”
== After Carl Furillo flied out for the first out, a shot of the Dodgers’ dugout, with Walter Alston looking on:
“The Dodger bullpen … grumbling … growling … and waiting.”
== After Roy Campanella grounds out for the second out:
“I think it would be safe to say no man in the history of baseball has ever come up to home plate in a more dramatic moment. That man is pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell.”
== A shot of Larsen backing off the mound, taking off his hat.
“Yankee Stadium is shivering in its concrete foundation right now as Larsen pitches to Mitchell.”
== After ball one to Mitchell:
“The ballgame is right there on your screen, Mr. Don Larsen.”
== After strike two:
“And now there is one strike left.”
== After Mitchell hits a foul ball:
“Fouled away … just to increase the tension.”
==Mitchell checks his swing, and it’s called strike three:
“Got him! (Crowd noise drowns out Scully’s words) … for Don Larsen. A no hitter, a perfect game in a World Series … Never in the history of the game has it ever happened in a World Series …
“And so our hats off to Don Larsen — no runs, no hits, no errors, no walks, no baserunners. The final score: The Yankees, two runs, five hits and no errors. The Dodgers: No runs, no hits, no errors … in fact, nothing at all.
“This was a day to remember, this was a ballgame to remember and above all, the greatest day in the life of Don Larsen. And the most dramatic and well-pitched ballgame in the history of baseball. …
“Mel, you can put this in your ring and wear it a long time.”