Growing up in the LA area in the 1960s and 1970s, there were many constants in life: really bad smog, gridlocked freeways, Saturday trips to Laguna and Santa Monica beaches. But by far the greatest constant was the Dodgers broadcasts of Vin Scully. Listening to Dodgers games on the radio was a summer ritual in the Hayward household, especially the east coast road trips, when the games started at 5 pm Pacific time, which meant dinner conversation would pause with each pitch. It is no exaggeration to say that listening to Scully on the radio was better than watching on TV, because the man is a poet. He has just announced that he is coming back for a 62nd year of broadcasting.
GQ has a wonderful piece up about Scully, rightly calling him “the no-contest hands-down greatest announcer in any sport of all time.” Scully saw Bobby Thomson’s 1951 shot against the Brooklyn Dodgers (he wasn’t behind the mic in the 9th inning that night though), and also saw Kirk Gibson’s 1988 home run in game 1 of the World Series, which he described as follows: “In a year of the improbable, the impossible has happened.” He called all four of Sandy Koufax’s no-hitters, and mentions in the interview that he’s covered something like 25 no-hitters. I vividly remember him calling Bill Singer’s no hitter in 1971, including the penultimate line coming with the two-strike look that went something like this: “Now Singer straightens, turns to [catcher] Jeff Torborg, and looks right dead center at a no-hitter.” (Torborg, incidentally, caught Koufax’s perfect game.)
The glory of this GQ piece is that it has links to several of Scully’s broadcast highlights, including Koufax’s perfect game, and Gibson’s home run, along with his reflections today. Worth a read, and a recollection of some great moments. Now that the Dodgers have been sold to an ownership group that will bring an end to the McCourts’ appalling soap opera, it is fitting to have Scully back hopefully to usher in a new era of Dodgers glory.