Vin Scully: The Man With the Golden Voice

Vin Scully has been the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster for sixty-seven years. Just let that sink in for a second, Scully has been calling games for the Dodgers before the team moved to Los Angeles. Scully was calling games that featured legends and pioneers like Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams. An icon in not just Dodgers folklore, but baseball as a whole, this week will be the last week Scully will call Dodgers’ games.

Scully started his baseball announcing career in 1950, creating a crew of three (Red Barber and Connie Desmond commentated with him) to commentate on the Brooklyn Dodgers’ games. During the World Series of 1953, Scully got promoted to principal announcer, making him the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game (at the age of 25). Scully became a sports celebrity in Los Angeles after the Dodgers big move to the west coast. Fans loved Scully because he was so good at explaining the finer points of the game to a city that had never had a professional baseball team.

Scully announced for the Dodgers through all of the ups and downs.  Scully announced eleven World Series broadcasts that featured the Dodgers, with the Dodgers coming out on top in six of them. The distinctive voice has called a number of legendary at bats, including the one shown below. The best thing about his calling of the Gibson walk-off (shown below), was not the pitch by pitch commentary, but the knowledge to not saying anything after confirming the home run, letting the viewers listen to the pandemonium that ensued uninterrupted.

 

What set Scully apart from other broadcasters, especially modern day broadcasters, was just how Scully commentates games. Most commentary crews split the responsibilities, with one announcer giving the play by play, and the other, normally a former player or coach, would provide insight into what is going on in the player’s heads or providing insight into why certain things occurred (known as the color commentator). Scully was different because he would do the whole thing, providing both the play by play and the color. Coupled with the golden voice, viewers were mesmerized to the Dodgers’ games that were called by Scully.

Scully has received numerous awards for his broadcasting career. In 1982, Scully received the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. 1995 saw Scully receive a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for his sports commentary, which also led to his induction in the National Radio Hall of Fame. That is just the tip of the iceberg for the awards Scully has received throughout his broadcasting career, a career that will soon come to an end.

Scully called his last game in Dodger Stadium this past Sunday, a game that was truly fitting for his last home broadcast. The Dodgers won in walk-off fashion, with a utility infielder hitting a home run in the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers. Whatever your religion, the truth is, the baseball gods were not going to let the Dodgers lose on Scully’s last broadcast in his home booth. Scully has received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, his own street named after him, and a key to the city, yet his most important accomplishment is truly the legacy left behind by his golden voice.

The sports world is constantly evolving, yet Los Angeles could always lean on Scully as the singular constant in the Dodgers world. As the Dodgers finish up the regular season in San Francisco this upcoming weekend, I advise any and all baseball fans to listen to one of his last three games, both to get a chance to appreciate his talent, but also to be able to say that you have listened to the best sports broadcaster baseball has ever had.

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