LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose sweet tones provided the soundtrack of the summer as they entertained and informed Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night. said the team. He was 94.
Scully died at her home in the Hidden Hills section of Los Angeles, according to the team, who spoke with family members.
As the longest-serving broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history, Scully saw it all and told it all. It started in the 1950s with Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, then in the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, in the 1970s with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, and through 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 changed players, managers, executives, owners and even coasts, but Scully and his calm, insightful style remained constant for fans.
He opened the broadcasts with the familiar greeting: “Hello everyone, and a very good evening to you wherever you are.”
Always friendly both in person and on the air, Scully considered herself simply a conduit between the game and the fans.
Although the Dodgers paid him, Scully wasn’t afraid to criticize a poor play or manager’s decision or praise an opponent as he told stories in a context of routine plays and notable accomplishments. She always said that she wanted to see things with her eyes, not with her heart.
Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927 in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk seller who died of pneumonia when Scully was 7 years old. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where the red-haired, blue-eyed Scully grew up playing stickball in the streets.
As a child, Scully would take a pillow, put it under the family four-legged radio, and lay her head directly under the speaker to listen to whatever college football game was on the air. With a sandwich of crackers and a glass of milk near her, the boy was transfixed by the roar of the crowd that gave goosebumps. She thought that she would like to call the action himself.
Scully, who played outfield for two years on the Fordham University baseball team, began his career working baseball, football and basketball games for the university’s radio station.
At age 22, he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, DC.
He soon joined Hall of Famers Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ radio and television booths. In 1953, at age 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a mark that still stands.
He moved west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully sang three perfect games — Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Koufax in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991 — and 18 no-hitters.
It was also in the air when Drysdale set his streak of 58⅔ shutout innings in 1968 and again when Hershiser broke the record with 59 consecutive shutout innings 20 years later.
When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, it was against the Dodgers and, of course, Scully called him out.
“A black man is getting a standing ovation in the deep south for breaking the record for an all-time baseball idol,” Scully told listeners. “What a wonderful time for baseball.”
Scully credited the birth of the transistor radio as “the single biggest hit” of her career. Fans had trouble recognizing minor players during the Dodgers’ first four years at the vast Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“They were about 70 rows away from the action,” he said in 2016. “They brought the radio in to find out about all the other players and see what they were trying to see on the field.”
That habit continued when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans held radios to their ears, and those not present listened from home or car, allowing Scully to connect generations of fans. families with their words.
He often said that it was better to describe a big play quickly and then shut up so the fans could hear the pandemonium. After Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Scully was silent for 38 seconds before speaking again. She was similarly silent for a while after Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit home run to win Game 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 Dodger Stadium press box was named after him in 2001. The street leading to the stadium’s front gate it was named in his honor in 2016.
That same year he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
“God has been so good to me in allowing me to do what I’m doing,” said Scully, a devout Catholic who attended Mass on Sundays before heading to the ballpark, before retiring. “A childhood dream that came true and then gave me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. That’s a big Thanksgiving 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 the lead baseball announcer for NBC from 1983 to 1989.
Although he was one of the most listened to broadcasters in the nation, Scully was an intensely private man. Once he finished the baseball season, he disappeared. He rarely made personal appearances or sports talk shows. He preferred spending 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 combined their families into what Scully once called “my own Brady Bunch.”
He said that he realized that time was the most precious thing in the world and that he wanted to spend his time with his 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 Scully pasted a family photo of her. Every time she felt she needed to smoke, she would take a picture of herself to remind herself why she quit. Eight months later, she Scully never smoked again.
After retiring in 2016, Scully made only a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium, her sweet voice being heard narrating an occasional video during games. Most of all, he was content to stay close to home.
“I just want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man and a man who lived up to his own beliefs,” he said in 2016.
In 2020, Scully auctioned off years of her personal memorabilia, raising over $2 million. A portion was donated to UCLA for ALS research.
He was preceded in death by his second wife, Sandra. He died of complications from ALS at the age of 76 in 2021. The couple, who had been married for 47 years, had a daughter, Catherine.
Scully’s other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd, and Kevin. A son, Michael, was killed in a helicopter crash in 1994.
Former AP staffer Stan Miller contributed biographical information.