As I was driving home from Target Field this past Tuesday night, I heard—on the radio, fittingly—the news of Vin Scully’s passing. Much like John Madden—the voice of the NFL—last year, this was an emotional loss for sports fans. Though I only really experienced the end of Scully’s broadcast career, he was so special that his talent for the craft transcended—and will continue to skirt—both time and space.
The first time I heard Vin’s vocals? In the early-1990s on the 1965 World Series highlights VHS tape my Dad owned. I hadn’t an inkling at that point who Scully was, but the fact that I watched the tape so much I practically had it memorized speaks volumes.
As I began to learn about baseball’s history, Scully’s sonorous calls kept popping up at key moments:
- 1956: Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game.
- 1965: Sandy Koufax’s perfect game—shortly after which he would lead the Dodgers to victory over the Twins in that hard-fought ‘65 Series.
- 1974: Henry Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run.
- 1986: The infamous Bill Buckner blunder.
- 1988: Kirk Gibson’s miraculous World Series walk-off.
- 1990: Fernando Valenzuela’s no-no.
- 1991: Kirby. Game Six. Enough said.
- 2014: Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter at Chavez Ravine.
Seeing as how Vin largely plied his trade just down the freeway from Hollywood, his narration in Kevin Costner’s For Love of the Game was also a treat (truth be told, it makes that film watchable):
Even pop culture brimmed with Vin vestiges: A 1970’s CA surfer kid grew up listening to Dodger games on the radio. He would later create perhaps the greatest—my favorite, at least—TV series of all-time and give one of its leading actors his boyhood broadcaster’s surname. I’m of course talking about Chris Carter, The X-Files, & Dana Scully.
When my brother moved to Cali in the mid-2010s, I developed a bit of a Blue fandom by proxy. After the Twins were done for the night, I’d often hop to MLBtv and throw on the Dodgers to hear Scully’s dulcet tones and engaging anecdotes.
Sometimes, an individual’s personality and talent perfectly syncs with their chosen profession. John Madden’s spurts of energy were perfect for the short-burst thrills of NFL football. In baseball—a more long-form sport blanketed in history and nostalgia—Vin Scully fit the bill perfectly.
I have absolutely no idea how to end a tribute like this, so I’ll let Vin himself have the honor and privilege:
Dipped in magic waters, indeed.