Today's L.A. Times reports that Vin Scully, 81, plans to call Dodger games for one more season after 2009, before he turns off his mike for the last time and retires. There is a caveat, though, as he tells sports columnist Bill Plaschke that he'll only announce his 61st year if, during the coming winter, he feels well enough to do it — and right now he feels great. Even at 60 consecutive seasons, though, Scully has already set a DiMaggio-like record for calling ballgames — especially those played by a single team, the Dodgers, whose games Scully first began calling at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field in 1950.
Like many baseball fans, as a kid I was provincially loyal to the voices of announcers calling the home teams of where I lived: Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons for the San Francisco Giants; Red Barber and Mel Allen for the Yankees, and Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner for the Mets. It never occurred to me that the hated Dodgers in hated Los Angeles had the treasure of all announcers in Scully. It was only when I started listening to Dodger games on the radio in the early 1980s that I became mesmerized by his wordplay and by that voice — which I imagined belonged to some Damon Runyan character from New York's Tammany Hall past.