After more than six decades, legendary Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is saying goodbye to the broadcast booth. To say that we will never see another Vin Scully may be quite an understatement.
Since he debuted as the third announcer along with Red Barber and Connie Desmond for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950, Scully has been baseball’s great storyteller.
Listening to a Vin Scully broadcast is not just an afternoon enjoying live baseball. It is an afternoon remembering both legendary and relatively obscure players from baseball’s past while also likely having American culture and history woven into the conversation.
Scully is not just a walking baseball encyclopedia, he is a walking American history book.
Having grown up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, Scully spent two years in the U.S. Navy before attending Fordham University. During his college career, Scully played on the baseball team while writing for the school newspaper and broadcasting football and basketball games on the radio.
Following his graduation, Scully was a fill-in announcer for CBS Radio station WTOP in Washington, DC. It was during this time that Red Barber, the Sports Director for the CBS Radio Network, recruited him to broadcast college football games.
After joining the Dodgers broadcast team in 1950, Scully continued to learn his craft from the legendary Barber. In 1953, Barber got into a salary dispute with World Series broadcast sponsor Gillette, propelling the 25-year-old Scully into the broadcast booth for his first World Series. He still holds the record as the youngest broadcaster to announce a World Series game.
He eventually became the lead announcer for the Dodgers and stayed with the team when they moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 season.
Though he is originally a New Yorker, it was in California where Scully truly became a broadcasting legend. Announcing Dodger games during the era of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Maury Wills, Scully became a fan favorite as many would bring transistor radios to the stadium just to hear Scully call the action.
In addition to baseball, Scully was also often seen on television broadcasting the NFL for CBS from 1975-1982. He was the play-by-play announcer for several playoff games, including the 1981 NFC Championship Game where he called Dwight Clark’s famous Catch to propel the San Francisco 49ers to their first Super Bowl.
He moved from CBS to NBC in 1983 and from 1983-1989 was the lead announcer the NBC’s Saturday Game of the Week. He also broadcast the 1984, 1986 and 1988 World Series.
Throughout his career, Scully has kept fans captivated and entertained, while making sure that the action on the field was always the primary focus. He learned early from Barber to never be a “homer” and to never draw attention away from the game by providing his opinion, instead of calling what he saw.
Though his career is nearing an end, Scully’s professionalism and storytelling will forever be a part of sports history.
Below are some vintage videos of some of Scully’s greatest broadcasts.