The resurgence of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 hit a crescendo this week as Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully announced that he would return for a record 65th season in 2014. For Dodgers fans, for baseball fans everywhere, this is great, great news. Scully will be 86 next year, but his grasp of the game and his ability to paint the scene remain unshakeable. Only Tommy LaSorda has been a Dodger longer, and Scully remains far more prominent in the public view.
It boggles the mind to realize that Scully first began broadcasting Dodgers games in 1950, the year before I was born (his heart was broken that first year by my Philadelphia Phillies who outlasted Dem Bums to win the National League pennant). He joined the immortal Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the broadcast booth, and in 1953 when Barber got into a salary dispute with Gillette before the World Series, Scully was tapped to replace him. He was 25 at the time and is still the youngest person ever to broadcast a World Series. He has called many World Series for NBC TV and CBS Radio, numerous All-Star games, and many, many memorable moments including Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series and Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in 1974.
One of the great benefits of subscribing to MLB.TV is the ability to tune in a Dodgers game that Scully is calling. Unlike most other broadcasts, where there is a play-by-play man and a color commentator, Scully works solo. And it is worth it, as no one can set the scene, and tell a human interest story about a player or figure with the compassion and grace like he can. There is no blather and an absence of cliché. When Vin talks, you listen, and he is prone to let the crowd tell the story at some of the game’s biggest moments.
Scully was voted the Ford C. Frick Award that the Baseball Hall of Fame grants to the best broadcasters in 1982, and Major League Baseball Network on its “Prime 9” show chose Scully as the #1 broadcaster in baseball history, and that is a very illustrious grouping, so illustrious in fact that Scully is not only the only one in the group who is still active, but the only one in the group who is still alive. He is a towering figure, and here’s hoping he will be calling Dodgers games for years to come.