Why do we revere Vin Scully so?
Nostalgia? His unfailingly polite and pleasant persona, both on the air and in person?
His poetic vocabulary and delivery with a grandfatherly lilt, never a touch overdone?
His abiding respect for the game, personified by prodigious preparation?
Those aren’t our questions. Word for word, all of the above was asked this past week by Wendy Parker, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer and editor now of the exceptional Sports Biblio Digest, a blog dedicated to sports books, history and culture.
“All of the above” was also the next line in Parker’s summarization to her inquiry. And she’s living about 3,000 miles away from all this current Vin-sanity.
We’d never pegged Vin Scully as a numbers guy.
Asked recently to estimate how many baseball games he has called since breaking in with the Dodgers in 1950, the Hall of Fame broadcaster said: “Quite frankly, I have zero interest in knowing how many games I’ve done. It doesn’t mean that much.”
You could try to do the math and come up with … does more than 10,000 sound right?
Yet here we are trying to get our head around 67 seasons with the Dodgers, and 88 years, 10 months and three days old when he plans to do his final broadcast for the team Oct. 2 in San Francisco.
Here are other digits worth deciphering as to what is being accomplished, at this link …
He called Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect game. He called Jack Nicklaus’ march up the 18th fairway en route to a Masters victory.
But some calls in Vin Scully’s career are far more memorable when paired with the events as they took place live.
While the Dodgers have conducted their own poll of his best calls of all time, here are 10 from his entire career that we believe are the most representative, most repeated, most impactful and most inspirational … at this link.
Dodgers team historian Mark Langill, center, with Justine Woerner, left, and Miranda Perez, right (Photo provided by Mark Langill/Dodgers)
They have been Vin Scully’s colleagues in the Dodgers’ media-related front office. As “Vin Scully Appreciation Night” arrives along with memories of his greatest calls, here are more of their stories:
Mark Langill, the Dodgers team historian since 2002 as it was given to him by Derrick Hall, allowed us the pleasure of sharing an evening with him at the Sierra Madre Library recently for Vin Scully story time.
The former Pasadena Star-News Dodgers beat writer and Cal State Northridge journalism graduate who was born on the date of the Dodgers’ 1965 home opener (April 20) joined the organization in 1994.
He told us about how he had covered the Dodgers for six season and finally made his first road trip on a plane to Pittsburgh one July. He came out of the plane’s restroom and looked up — and there was Scully, “sitting in first class reading a thick military novel with his glasses half down on the bridge of his nose. He looked up and say, ‘Hiya, Mark.’
“It was one of those moments when it’s like going through the looking glass. It’s as if you’re now going to see behind the scenes of this incredible world you followed as a kid.”
Langill has plans of traveling to San Francisco to watch the final Dodgers-Giants games as a fan in the AT&T Park stands.
“I just want to be there, sit in the stands, listen to the broadcast later …” he said with a pause. “Just fly up there in the morning, enjoy the game, then hurl myself into the bay and it’ll all be over.”
Langill’s dry humor goes to this extreme: “If I was in the electric chair and he was doing the call, I’d be rooting for him because he always makes it sound so interesting and exciting.”
He shares more thoughts on Scully’s retirement: Continue reading →
Joe Jareck, left, and Vin Scully, at a ceremony for Clayton Kershaw’s 2011 Cy Young Award announcement. (Photo by Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)
They have been Vin Scully’s colleagues in the Dodgers’ media-related front office. As a week-long tribute to Scully begins at Dodger Stadium for his final seven home games, these are some of their stories:
Joe Jareck, the current senior director of public relations for the Dodgers, has been with the organization for the last 11 years. He shares these stories:
“When I was hired in January of 2006, I picked up and left my whole life in New Jersey to come to L.A. and really didn’t know anyone outside of Josh Rawitch, who had just hired me. Now, I know you hear stories about how when we hire someone, they always have the story, ‘Then Vin Scully called me …’ But really, the first day I got here, I’m meeting people and really just pinching myself as to what’s going on. It’s finally about 4:15 or 4:30 in the afternoon, the day is winding down, and the phone on my desk rings. I haven’t given this number out to a soul yet. I’m thinking, ‘How did my dad get this number already?’ I pick up the phone and hear, ‘Joe, it’s Vin Scully and I just wanted to welcome you to the Dodgers.’ I could barely breathe. I have no idea what I said back to him. There were these things I was ready to tell my family about my first day, but all I could get out was that Vin had called me. It kind of tells you what he means to people who are fans of the game. He may have seen a press release that went out about my hiring, and he could have called later, but that’s why he is who he is. Continue reading →