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Vin Scully, the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 years, died on Tuesday as the organization honored his memory
Baseball has lost its voice.
Vin Scully, who brought Dodgers broadcasts to life for 67 years, died on Tuesday at the age of 94. Scully didn’t just narrate baseball history. He was baseball history.
When Scully first worked Dodgers Spring Training in 1950, he called games featuring Connie Mack (born in 1862 during the Civil War), who was still the manager of the Athletics. Scully did games with Dutch Leonard (born 1909) and Julio Urias (born 1996). His influence spanned generations. For many baseball fans, he was the voice behind the game’s iconic moments.
When you heard Scully’s voice, you could picture Clayton Kershaw unleashing a breaking ball. But you could also see Kirk Gibson pumping his fist, the ball slipping through the glove of Bill Buckner, Sandy Koufax letting go of his blazing fastball, Yogi Berra jumping in the arms of Don Larsen, and Jackie Robinson racing home. When he first began working for the Dodgers, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle hadn’t even debuted yet; he stayed in the booth long enough to witness Mike Trout and Aaron Judge.
Scully called 28 World Series, in 1953 becoming, at age 25, the youngest announcer in World Series history. He was behind the microphone for 20 no-hitters and three perfect games, expertly setting the stage when Koufax struck out Harvey Kuenn at 9:46 p.m. on Sept. 9, 1965.
Dodgers organization honors their legendary voice
For someone who played such an iconic role in the franchise’s history, the Dodgers were quick to pay tribute. “He was the best there ever was. Just when you think about the Dodgers, there’s a lot of history here and a lot of people who have come through. It’s just a storied franchise all the way around. But it almost starts with Vin, honestly. He’s right there with Jackie,” Kershaw said.
“Just as far as the history of the organization, Vin’s been through it all. Just a special man. I’m grateful I got to know him as well as I did.”
In the magical September of 1988, Scully called every moment as Orel Hershiser went on a 59-inning scoreless streak, breaking the record held by Don Drysdale (Scully called that, too).
“It’s really hard because it’s a portion of your life that you don’t want to lose,” Hershiser said on Sportsnet LA. “I think of the melodic tones. I think of the integrity. I think of him as a role model. People are saying a soundtrack, but I would say the voice from our highlight film of life.”
In 2016, before Scully’s final season in the Dodgers broadcast booth, the address of Dodger Stadium was changed to 1000 Vin Scully Ave. in his honor. Fans gathered by the “Welcome to Dodger Stadium” sign on Tuesday night, lighting candles in memory of the man who brought them Dodgers games for so many decades as they were driving down Los Angeles’ freeways.
Joe Davis, who had the unenviable task of replacing Scully, had the duty of announcing Scully’s death on the air while the Dodgers were playing the Giants in San Francisco on Tuesday.
“I tried to do my best to pay tribute to the guy I consider the greatest ever to do it,” Davis told the Los Angeles Times. “I said on the air tonight, and will say forever, that there never will be another one like him. The greatest there ever has been and the greatest there ever will be.”
Scully was a natural storyteller. He brought out the human side of the players he watched on the field. He knew how to set the stage for a moment. In 1974, when Aaron brought the home run record, he stayed silent for three minutes, letting the reaction of the Deep South crowd speak for itself.
For nearly seven decades, the story of baseball was told through Scully’s voice. The game, and everyone who passed through it, owes him a deep debt of gratitude.