Vin Scully, the TV and radio voice of the Dodgers for 59 years, will be inducted into the newly formed Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in New York City tonight. Don Ohlmeyer will be joining him, along with other broadcasting legends such as the late Chet Forte and Curt Gowdy. Scully, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, first started with the Brooklyn Dodgers, then made the move to Los Angeles with the team in 1958. The 2009 baseball season will mark the 60th anniversary of Scully calling play-by-play for Big Blue.
At Dodger Stadium, the press box is named after Vin Scully, which I visited early last season for a writing assignment about third base coach Larry Bowa. It was an hour before the game, scouts and sports writers were sitting down for dinner in the commissary, and I took a seat at one table to eat my hot dog and French fries. When I looked up from my food, Vin Scully, a spry, red-haired, 80-year-old, was staring at me.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hello,” Vin said back in his smooth, cheery voice.
Before I could tell him that we both graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx, the rest of the table, which was filled with older, straight-faced scouts, suddenly looked up too.
“Vin!” many of them yelled out.
Scully nodded his head and smiled wide.
“How are ya, fellas?”
“Good, good, Vin. And you?”
“I'm doing well. I just wanted to say hello before the game started.”
Then they chatted a bit, Scully telling a story about a scout who wanted to get out of baseball that drew chuckles, and then he hustled off. Scully worked the entire room that way, saying Hi to everyone,
listening to a few anecdotes thrown his way, then off to say Hello to
someone else. Everyone seemed to like him — when he left, no one said anything bad about him.
It was a special moment for a longtime baseball fan like myself, with Vin living up to the kind of person you see and hear him as on TV and radio: a true gentleman of the highest degree. It's probably why people always connect with the Bronx native: In a world of loud mouths and phonies, Vin Scully, who's seen everything from Kurt Gibson's dramatic World Series home run for the Dodgers in 1988 to the team's crushing loses in October to the New York Yankees, comes across as a sincere class act who'll never steer you wrong.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.