October 5, 2022

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose laid-back tones provided the summer soundtrack by entertaining and informing Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night, the team said. It was 94.

Scully died at his home in the Hidden Hills section of Los Angeles, according to the group, which spoke to family members.

As the longest-tenured single-team broadcaster in professional sports history, Scully has seen it all and said it all. It started in the 1950s with Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, in the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, in the 1970s with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, and through the 1980s with Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela. In the 1990s, it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo, followed by Clayton Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in the 21st century.

The Dodgers changed players, managers, executives, owners — even coasts — but Scully and his laid-back, insightful style remained a constant for fans.

He opened the broadcasts with the familiar greeting, “Hello, everyone, and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you are.”

Always affable both in person and on air, Scully saw himself as simply a conduit between the game and the fans.

Even though he was being paid by the Dodgers, Scully wasn’t afraid to criticize a bad game or a manager’s decision, or to praise an opponent while spinning backstories of routine plays and notable accomplishments. He always said he wanted to see things with his eyes, not his heart.

Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927 in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk salesman who died of pneumonia when Scully was 7 years old. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where red-haired, blue-eyed Scully grew up playing stickball in the streets.

As a kid, Scully would grab a pillow, put it under the family’s four-foot radio, and stick his head directly under the speaker to listen to whatever college football game was on the air. With a snack of saltine crackers and a glass of milk close at hand, the boy was overwhelmed by the roar of the tumultuous crowd. He thought he would like to call the action himself.

Scully, who played outfield for two years on the Fordham University baseball team, began his career working baseball, football and basketball games for the university’s radio station.

At age 22, he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, DC

He soon joined Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers radio and television booths. In 1953, at age 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a mark that still stands.

He moved west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully threw three perfect games — Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991 — and 18 no-hitters.

It was also in the air when Don Drysdale hit a 58 2/3 inning scoreless streak in 1968 and again when Hershiser broke the record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings 20 years later.

When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, it was against the Dodgers and, of course, Scully called it.

“A black man gets a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a baseball icon’s all-time record,” Scully told listeners. “What a great time for baseball.”

Scully credited the birth of the transistor radio as “the biggest single break” of his career. Fans struggled to recognize the smaller players during the Dodgers’ first four years at Los Angeles’ massive Memorial Coliseum.

“They were about 70 odd rows away from the action,” he said in 2016. “They brought the radio in to find out about all the other players and see what they were trying to see down the field.”

This habit carried over when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans held radios to their ears and those not in attendance listened from home or in the car, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words.

He often said it was best to describe a large work quickly and then shut up so fans could hear the fanfare. After Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Scully was silent for 38 seconds before speaking again. Similarly, he was briefly silent after Kirk Gibson’s home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that year, and was also named by the stadium press in 2001. The road leading to Dodger Stadium’s main gate is named in his honor of 2016.

That same year he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

“God has been so good to me that he’s allowed me to do what I do,” said Scully, a devout Catholic who attended mass on Sundays before heading to the field, before retiring. “A childhood dream that came true and then gave me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. This is a very big Thanksgiving for me.”

In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully called play-by-play for NFL games and PGA Tour events, as well as calling 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was NBC’s primary baseball announcer from 1983-89.

While one of the most widely heard broadcasters in the country, Scully was a fiercely private person. Once the baseball season was over, it would disappear. He rarely made personal appearances or sports talk shows. He preferred to spend time with his family.

In 1972, his first wife, Joan, died of an accidental drug overdose. She was left with three small children. Two years later, he met the woman who would become his second wife, Sandra, a secretary for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. He had two young children from a previous marriage, and they blended their families into what Scully once called “my Brady Bunch.”

He said he realized that time was the most precious thing in the world and he wanted to use his time to spend with his loved ones. In the early 1960s, Scully quit smoking with the help of his family. In the shirt pocket where she kept a pack of cigarettes, Scully taped a family photo. Whenever he felt like he needed a smoke, he would pull out the photo to remind him why he quit. Eight months later, Scully never smoked again.

After retiring in 2016, Scully made only a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium, and his sweet voice was heard narrating an occasional video that played during games. Mostly, he was content to stay close to home.

“I just want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man and a man who stood up for his own convictions,” he said in 2016.

In 2020, Scully has been auctioning off his personal memorabilia for years, which has raised over $2 million. A portion of it was donated to UCLA for ALS research.

He was preceded in death by his second wife, Sandra. He died of complications from ALS aged 76 in 2021. The couple, who were married for 47 years, had a daughter Catherine together.

Scully’s other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd and Kevin. A son, Michael, died in a helicopter crash in 1994.

Report from the Associated Press

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