Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers from the time they moved to Los Angeles, and who started his career as the team’s broadcaster in Brooklyn, is being remembered this week by players, fans, baseball executives and city dignitaries for his stories and his love of baseball.
Scully died Tuesday at his home in Hidden Hills at the age of 94.
Scully broadcast Dodger games from 1950 — when the team was based in Brooklyn — through his retirement in 2016 at age 88. His 67-year tenure as a Dodger broadcaster is the longest for a broadcaster with a team.
Scully was born in the New York City borough of the Bronx on Nov. 29, 1927. When he was 8 years old, he was assigned to write a composition on what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“Where the boys in grammar school wanted to be policemen and firemen and the girls wanted to be ballet dancers and nurses, here’s this kid saying, ‘I want to be a sports announcer,”’ Scully once said. “I mean it was really out of the blue.”
Scully attended Fordham University in the Bronx, where he announced football, basketball, and baseball games on the university’s radio station, WFUV; wrote a sports column for The Ram student newspaper; and was a stringer for The New York Times.
Scully graduated from Fordham in 1949, then sent about 150 letters to radio stations along the Eastern seaboard. He only received one response, from WTOP, the CBS station in Washington, D.C., which made him a fill-in.
That fall, he returned to New York and was asked by Red Barber, the broadcaster and sports director of the CBS Radio Network, to fill in for an ill broadcaster to call the Boston University-University of Maryland college football game.
Scully was relegated to an outdoor press box at Fenway Park in the freezing cold, but performed his duties without complaint, which impressed Barber, who was also the Dodgers’ lead announcer. Months later, when the Dodgers were looking for a third broadcaster to join Barber and Connie Desmond, Scully was hired at the age of 22.
Scully’s first regular-season game with the Brooklyn Dodgers was on April 18, 1950, when they faced the Phillies at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.
“My first game, Newcombe didn’t make it to the fourth inning. That’s all I really remember, plus the fact I was terrified.”
Scully broadcast his final road game on Oct. 2, 2016. He said he chose it to be his final game, instead of broadcasting the team’s postseason games, because it came 80 years to the day from when he saw a sign in his native New York City showing the score of Game 2 of the 1936 World Series, an incident that made him a baseball fan.
“It seems like the plan was laid out for me, and all I had to do was follow the instructions,” Scully said.