Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose sweet tones provided the summer soundtrack as he entertained and informed Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night, the team said. She was 94.
Scully died at her home in the Hidden Hills section of Los Angeles, according to the team, who spoke to family members.
As the longest-running television broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history, Scully saw it all and called it all. He started in the 1950s era of 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 in 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 have changed players, managers, executives, owners and even coasts, but Scully and her reassuring and insightful style have 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 kind both in person and on the air, Scully simply considered herself a conduit between the game and the fans.
Although paid by the Dodgers, Scully was not afraid to criticize a bad play or a manager’s decision, or to praise an opponent as he told stories against a background of routine play and noteworthy results. He always said he wanted to see things with his eyes, not with 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. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where red-haired, blue-eyed Scully grew up playing stickball on the streets.
As a child, Scully would take a pillow, place it under the family’s four-legged radio, and lay her head directly under the speaker to listen to whatever college football game was on. With a snack of salty crackers and a glass of milk nearby, the boy was pierced by the roar of the crowd that elicited goosebumps. She thought he’d like to call the action himself.
Scully, who played outfield for two years on the Fordham University baseball team, began her career working in baseball, football, and basketball games for the university’s radio station.
At the age of 22, he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, DC
She soon joined the Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the radio and television booths of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1953, at the age of 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a brand that still stands.
He moved west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully called three perfect matches – Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991 – and 18 no-hitters.
It was also on the air when Don Drysdale established his goalless innings streak of 58 2/3 innings in 1968 and again when Hershiser broke the record with 59 consecutive goalless innings 20 years later.
When Hank Aaron scored his 715th home run to beat Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, it was against the Dodgers and, of course, Scully called him.
“A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record for an all-time baseball idol,” Scully told listeners. “What a wonderful time for baseball.”
Scully credited the birth of transistor radio as “the biggest single breakthrough” of her career. Fans had a hard time recognizing minor players during the Dodgers’ first four years at the sprawling Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“They were about 70 odd rows from the action,” he said in 2016. “They brought in the radio to find out all the other players and see what they were trying to see on the pitch.”
That habit remained when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans held the radio to their ears and those who weren’t there listened from home or car, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with her words. .
He often said it was best to quickly describe a great show and then shut up so fans could hear the pandemonium. After Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Scully was silent for 38 seconds before speaking again. He was just as quiet for a while after Kirk Gibson’s home run winning Race 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 the stadium’s press box was named after him in 2001. The road leading to Dodger Stadium’s main gate was named in honor of him in 2016.
In the same year he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
“God has been so good to me that he has allowed me to do what I am doing,” said Scully, a devout Catholic who attended Sunday mass before heading to the stadium before retiring. “A childhood dream that came true and then gave me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. This is a pretty big Thanksgiving day 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 to 1989.
Despite being one of the nation’s most listened to broadcasters, Scully was an extremely reserved man. Once the baseball season was over, he 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. She had two young children from a previous marriage, and they united their families in what Scully once called “my Brady Bunch”.
She said she understood that time was the most precious thing in the world and that she wanted to use her time to spend with her loved ones. In the early 1960s, Scully quit smoking with the help of her family. In her shirt pocket where she kept a pack of cigarettes, she slipped a family photo. Whenever she felt like she needed a cigarette, she pulled out the photo to remind him why she had quit. Eight months later, she Scully never smoked again.
After retiring in 2016, Scully only made a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium and her sweet voice was heard recounting an occasional video played during matches. Mostly, she was content to stay close to home.
“I just want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man and one who lived up to his convictions,” he said in 2016.
In 2020, Scully auctioned off years of her personal memorabilia, which 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. She died of complications from ALS at the age of 76 in 2021. The couple, who had been married for 47 years, had daughter Catherine together.
Scully’s other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd and Kevin. One son, Michael, died in a helicopter crash in 1994.
Former Associated Press contributor Stan Miller contributed biographical information to this report.
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