The Best Broadcaster in Baseball Has Called His Last Games
In a career that has been improbable, the impossible has happened.Vin Scully has left the broadcast booth. Vin Scully, acknowledged by everyone as the greatest baseball broadcaster of all time, has retired after 67 years of calling balls and strikes and wins and losses.
Let that sink in. Sixty-seven years. If you’re not good at running back through time and years, here’s some help. He joined the broadcast booth halfway through the last century, in 1950, and his first Dodgers broadcast was on April 18th. (Were you even born then?)
Someone who was born during the 1950 baseball season would be 66 years old today.
Sports Illustrated has compiled the numbers and they report that Vin has called approximately 9,000 Major League Baseball games, 25 World Series on radio and television, 12 All-Star Games, 20 no-hitters and three perfect games.
For the love of the game.
“It’s time for Dodger baseball.” Fans will miss the simplicity of the routine: When the other broadcasters wrap up the pregame chatter, they toss the mic over to Vin, who greets his listeners as if he knows the fans and his friends (the listeners inside and outside of the ballpark) are tuned in across the city, at work, at home, on the road, and in Row O of the top deck.
“Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.”
It’s heartfelt and it’s meant for everyone, individually. It just feels like it is. Vin Scully is a friend, a father and a neighbor to every Los Angeles Dodgers baseball fan. For virtually ALL Dodger fans, Vin Scully has been their lead Dodgers broadcaster for all of their lives. Yes, we have all listened to many great broadcasters as well, but Vinny was always the voice we waited to hear. We all had a relationship with and fondness for him over the airwaves.
L.A. fans of all ages pretty much have the same sentiments, because Vinny was there, ever-present, never-changing, consistent and constant.
After the last out of the last game of the 2013 season, Vinny signed off for the year. This is what he said: “Good afternoon, everybody…and to you, Christian.” I have no clue who he was referring to, but I’ll just hope it was for me. – Christian H. (29)
There are so many incredible moments that Vin Scully shared with us: They’re not memorable simply because there are so many, as if it’s simply a numbers game; they’re memorable because they were crafted by a passionate broadcaster, a poet, a professional, a friend—a humble man with a command of the language, his senses, his humility and his place in the game.
The Red Sox were one inning away from winning the whole thing in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Vin was there to call baseball’s most memorable error and come-from-behind win.
Little roller up along first…behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!
In 1988, the powerful Oakland A’s were favored over the weak-hitting L.A. Dodgers. Kirk Gibson limped to the plate to face the unhittable Dennis Eckersley. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th in Game 1, what happened next was historic, as Vinny called it:
Sax waiting on deck, but the game right now is at the plate…High fly ball into right field, she is GONE! (Just crowd noise for 68 seconds.) In a year that has been so improbable, the IMPOSSIBLE has happened!
Koufax’s perfect game.
On September 9, 1965, Vin called perhaps one of the most listened-to half-inning of a baseball game. His words of the last pitch of that game, a swinging strike, are known by every devoted L.A. fan. They have the meter and rhythm of poetry. (Note: “Kuenn,” the last batter and final strikeout victim, is pronounced “Keen.” We know it only because we hear Vin’s voice still ringing in our ears.)
Two and two to Harvey Kuenn.
One strike away.
Sandy into his windup.
Here’s the pitch.
Swung on and missed, a perfect game!
Bob Costas has said that when he read a transcript of Vin’s call of the bottom of the 9th inning, he thought the words had been composed after the fact, as if it were a written account of the event.
Vin Scully also called NFL football games for CBS for seven seasons. He was in the booth for the 28–27 San Francisco ’49ers victory over Dallas in the NFC title game played on January 10, 1982. The game is remembered for Joe Montana’s last-minute touchdown pass to Dwight Clark at Candlestick Park. The play is known in NFL lore as simply “The Catch.”
Montana, looking, looking…
Throwing in the end zone…
Clark caught it!
It’s a madhouse at Candlestick!
It was the last football game Vin Scully would call.
Like a grand slam, he is gone.
On September 25, 2016, Vin Scully called his last home game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was Sunday and the final day of Vin Scully Appreciation Weekend.
The Dodgers, as if it were scripted for a Hollywood movie, took the game into extra innings. On the line was the National League Western Division title. The Dodgers would win the West one of two ways: if they could beat the Rockies, or if the Giants lost to the Padres. But the team wanted to win for Vin.
Here’s how the game ended and how Vin Scully called it, his last-ever home game play-by-play call as the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster. Charlie Culberson, a utility player, was at the plate for L.A. in the top of the 10th.
Charlie trying to keep the inning alive.
“O” and one to Charlie. Swung on, a high fly ball to deep left field, the Dodger bench empties…would you believe a home run?
The Dodgers have clinched the Division and will celebrate on schedule!
Leave it to the Dodgers. Charlie Culberson, a game-winning home run. What a moment to have it, and would you believe it, his first home run of the year.
A come-from-behind win. An extra-inning win. A walk-off home run to end the game. And they clinched the Division title only minutes before the Giants would
lose their game.
As one of the young Dodger players said after the game, the baseball gods wouldn’t have allowed it any other way