Sixty-seven years in broadcasting is nothing short of incredible. As a young and aspiring journalist doing anything in his power to accomplish a lifelong dream of working in sports media, Vin Scully is a man that I have looked up to for some time now.
Scully was somebody who I consider a friend despite the fact that we have never met in person and that he broadcasted the games of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that I despise.
That is the power that Scully had. A kid who is a diehard Colorado Rockies fan considers the Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play broadcaster his friend.
Name another broadcaster who has ever had that kind of impact on the games he called.
Scully has stamped his legacy in baseball history, calling some of the most memorable games and moments in which his sound bites will be played for generations to come.
Scully has done more for the game of baseball than he will ever admit.
In 1950, when Scully first got behind the mic, there were 16 teams in Major League Baseball, racial segregation in the south and the country was still coming of age.
Fast forward to 2016, Scully’s last season. Look how far the country and the game of baseball has come, Scully saw it all.
Ten of the 16 teams in 1950 are still in the same city with the same names. (New York Yankees, Boston Red Soxs, Saint Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Soxs, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians). The remaining six teams (Washington Senators, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Philadelphia Athletics, Saint Louis Browns, Boston Braves) all moved to other cities, some keeping and others changing names.
The Washington Senators are now the Minnesota Twins, the Philadelphia Athletics are now the Oakland Athletics, the Saint Louis Browns are now the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Bees changed their name to the Boston Braves and moved to Atlanta.
Scully claimed to have become a New York Giants fan when the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Giants 18-6 on Oct. 2, 1936. From that day forward, the pity he felt for the Giants led him to be an avid Giants fan and ultimately falling in love with the game of baseball.
In 1950, the Brooklyn Dodgers hired Scully to broadcast their baseball games, and although he lived in two different cities, he remained with the same franchise for 67 years.
Fast forward to Oct. 2, 2016, Scully’s final broadcast. Guess who the now Los Angeles Dodgers played? The Giants. And furthermore, it was 80 years to the day when Scully fell in love with the game.
How is that for full-circle?
It was not so much the play-by-play that made Scully so great, but how he disrobed the moment that made him great.
When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run which broke the all-time homerun record, Scully could not have described the scene any better.
In a 1974 game that was played in Atlanta, Georgia Hank Aaron, an African American, broke the all-time homerun record. Although he played for the opposing team, Aaron received a standing ovation.
Scully called it perfectly. After staying silent, allowing the audience to listen to the cheers, Scully came on with the line, “A black man is getting a standing ovation in the deep south. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world.”
Calls such as the Hank Aaron home run capture the moment with such greatness, fusing baseball with the real world.
The 89-year-old man has seen not only the country, but the game of baseball, grow up right before his eyes.
Scully is the perfect representation of baseball. The stories he has accumulated over the last 67 years not only show the history that baseball has. The way he told them, with his gentle, kind and soothing voice showed the compassion that only baseball can show.