Dodger Sportscaster Vin Scully

Dodger Sportscaster Vin Scully
A Role Model for Wannabe Announcers, Vin Scully is the Voice of Wisdom

 

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Most kids, at a young age, want to be major league baseball players. All that ambition fades when they ultimately realize they are not of that caliber on the playing field.

But there’s another way of sort-of breaking into big league baseball, and that’s announcing the ball game.

Vin Scully is undoubtedly the finest baseball announcer ever to call a major league game. The voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers for 60 years (he started with them in Brooklyn), Scully has announced games since the team moved to the West Coast. He has also announced golf tournaments and major league games with former major leaguer Joe Garagiola for the networks, but it is as the voice of the Dodgers that he is best known.

Just as major movie stars have advice for aspiring actors, so Scully has brief words for wannabe sports announcers.

 “Well, first of all,” he says, “you get your education. You have to go to a university that has an FM station. Read a great deal so that you’ll be able to reach back when the pressure is on. When you need it. And then it’s in God’s hands.”

Scully is a Hall of Fame broadcaster whose status as one of the top sportscasters was reaffirmed when he was named “baseball’s all-time best.” He is in Cooperstown’s Broadcast section, and it is noted that his is the longest consecutive service with any one team.

In the 2005 book Voices of Summer, Scully was named as baseball’s all-time broadcaster, based on longevity, continuity, network coverage, kudos, language, popularity, voice, knowledge and miscellany.

The New York-born man joined Hall of Fame announcers Red Barber (his mentor) and Connie Desmond as part of the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast team in 1950, just a year after graduation from Fordham, where he announced the school’s baseball, basketball and football games over the university’s local radio station.

From there he went over to the Dodgers, as a fledgling announcer, learning the trade from Barber, ironically, a Southern voiced sportscaster, from whom Scully admits picking up folksy phrases “and the announcing business itself.”

Scully’s smooth voice itself is such that fellow announcer Jaime Jarrin, who calls the Dodgers games in Spanish says, “Listening to Vin Scully calling the game is like watching Michelangelo painting a masterpiece.”

It has been said that Vin Scully has probably created more baseball fans than anyone who ever played the game. Los Angeles sportswriters claim he has lured more people into Dodger Stadium than any player– with the exception of Sandy Koufax. High praise, indeed.

When one woman admitted to him that she never knew baseball, but learned it all from his broadcasts, Scully humbly said “It’s an honor.” There is no false modesty to the man, who is as genuine today as when he first started.

What does he mean to the Dodgers? Peter O’Malley, whose family was the first to own the ball club sums it up this way: “In one word– everything. The class. The sincerity. The high regard everybody has for him. There’s no one else like him. He is unique. Any honor for him is well deserved.”

At a gathering of about 500 members at the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters awards luncheon, Scully was feted by various members of the sports world and Hollywood.

Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, still affiliated with the club in a consultant role, stated, “You can’t find words to describe him. Without a doubt the best in the business. He’s done a tremendous job for the Dodgers for sixty years. He’s just the best. Number one. What more can you say about him. Nobody can ever replace him.”

Scully has announced World Series and All-Star games, and even called ball games in foreign countries. His awards are numerous. Among his honors are the Ronald Reagan Distinguished American Award; the Lifetime Achievement Sports Emmy Award, and the Governor’s Emmy award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Scully was named the Outstanding Sportscaster four times and the California Sportscaster of the Year 29 times by the National Sportscasters Association. And he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Dodgers dedicated the Vin Scully Press Box at Dodger Stadium, and even a baseball field in Bogota, N.J. bares his name, because he lived there while announcing the Brooklyn Dodgers at the start of his career.


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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