Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vin Scully, last of the ‘great announcers’ for baseball



  Vin Scully is in his 61st year announcing for the Dodgers



Every time the Phillies play the Dodgers, I like to seek out hearing the call of the game by the Dodgers announcer, Vin Scully. Scully is one of those announcers that have changed the sound of baseball for a lot of people. His announcing has brought listeners closer to players they’ll probably never meet, and closer to a game that is a game that is a business as well as the nation’s past time.


I got this idea to write this column just yesterday when I heard a comment on a radio show about how good Scully is when he announces a game. He actually tells a story when he calls a baseball game and takes you inside of the story and leaves you very entertained in the process.


Vin is one of those baseball announcers who are in a league of their own. Scully’s voice is as recognizable as one of the great voices of the game. Harry Kalas, Harry Caray, By Saam, Curt Gowdy,  Mel Allen, Red Barber, Dave Niehaus, and more are the contemporaries of Vin Scully. They are voices that have made positive effect on baseball, and Vin Scully is in his 61st season of announcing for the team that he loves the most.


We often don’t think of some current ‘great announcers’ of baseball. Jon Miller really fits into that category along with Joe Morgan. They are two ‘old school’ announcers that dig deep for personal stories and professional stories from the game. They don’t just follow the play of the game, they entertain as they do so and that is what people can see and hear in their call of the game.


Chris Wheeler is one of the local Phillies announcers that fits into the mold of the ‘old school’ announcer. He takes you on a journey in a game, imparts a lot of baseball knowledge and above all else as he told me in an interview as a prerequisite he thinks is best in approaching his career, ‘just be yourself.’ We can hear that in his stories and they way he entertains us every game. He may make a mistake now and again, but don’t we all?


Back to Vin Scully, a bit of history from his career. From


When Scully first began broadcasting in 1950, the Dodgers had yet to win a single World Series and were known affectionately as "Dem Bums." Gasoline cost 27 cents a gallon, a postage stamp was just three cents and the minimum wage was only 75 cents per hour. Three years later, at the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series game and in 1955, he had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers' first and only championship in Brooklyn. The following season, Scully once again found himself in the enviable position of calling what he would later say was the greatest individual performance he had seen - Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series - a broadcast that made national news again in 2009 when the MLB Network launched on January 1 with the rare footage of that game.

Though he cut his proverbial teeth on radio, Scully is often known for letting the pictures tell the story on television. His most memorable call for Dodger fans likely came in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, when a hobbled Kirk Gibson's two-out, two-strike, two-run homer gave the Dodgers a victory over the highly favored Oakland A's.

"High fly ball into right field, she is gone," Scully said before remaining silent for more than a minute. The next words he spoke continue to be replayed almost nightly at Dodger Stadium. "In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened."

Scully's voice is often dubbed the "soundtrack to summer" in Los Angeles, where generations of fans have grown up listening to him call Dodger games. In 2011, he will continue to call all Dodger home games and the club's road games against NL West and AL West opponents. While Scully handles all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts, the first three innings of each of his games is simulcast on radio.

Read Vin Scully’s full biography on Los Angeles here


Just a few of the quotes attributed to Vin Scully throughout his career:


"He (Bob Gibson) pitches as though he's double-parked." Source: Baseball Digest (September 1972)

"He's (Tom Glavine) like a tailor; a little off here, a little off there & you're done,take a seat."

"How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away." Source: On-Air Radio Broadcast (1989)

"I really love baseball. The guys and the game, and I love the challenge of describing things. The only thing I hate — and I know you have to be realistic and pay the bills in this life — is the loneliness on the road."

"I said to him, 'Joe (Garagiola), you played a long time, but I've broadcast as many games as you've played, and then some. So if you're gonna talk "inside baseball," you tell the fans the "inside baseball." But don't tell me.'"

"It's a mere moment in a man's life between the All-Star Game and an old timer's game." Source: On-Air Radio Broadcast (1980)

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