My oldest friend just retired

I say my oldest friend, yet we never met; that’s how good Vin Scully is as a play-by-play announcer.

He retired yesterday after 67 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers sounding just like he did the first time I ever heard him as a small child; amazing.

When I was a boy, I listened to him on the radio when I went to bed, when I was playing in the yard or walking around the neighborhood on a warm summer evening; his voice was everywhere in those days. He would be played on loudspeakers in the stores, every dad had him on the transistor radio in their garage, every mom had him on the radio in their kitchens; you could literally walk all over the place and never miss a play because every house had a radio on and a window open…

Yet what makes Vin special isn’t that everyone in my home town listened to him, it is the way he described the game, for unlike other announces, Vin paints pictures with words, he tells stories that mesh with the game as it moves forward in a way that is pure genius, and all the while he is speaking as though talking to you personally as a close friend.

Several years ago, I began subscribing to MLB.TV so I could hear Vin Scully again after being so long away from the Los Angeles area; my wife thought that was odd to say the least. Having grown up in the Midwest, she really hadn’t become familiar with him, even though he did national broadcasting in the late 70’s and 80’s, but she too was hooked in an hour or two of listening to him; everything is good when Vin is there.

What’s even more amazing about Vin is that he approaches his job as though he’s no big deal, just a red-headed kid from New York who is doing the thing he loves, a guy who doesn’t really know what all the fuss is about. That might just be his most endearing characteristic in an age when everyone wants to be a big shot.

Oh yes, I’m going to miss Vin Scully!

If you have a minute to spare, here’s a fantastic tribute that you will enjoy, even if you’ve never heard of my oldest friend.

 

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12 thoughts on “My oldest friend just retired”

  1. I know where you’re coming from on this. IMO, the greatest play-by-play announce retired, then years later passed away. Pittsburgh’s Bob Prince, he could glue you to your seat with his colorful play calls, stories of current and past players, ad tales of baseball’s history. I remember having a red transistor radio attached to my bike so I could hear the games as I was peddling through the streets in the towns I would ride through. The broadcast (KDKA) carried north to Erie, east to the Allegheny Mountains, south to W.Va, and west through most of Ohio. There was hardly a place I couldn’t go and not hear him broadcast. I remember one year I was backpacking in Maine, it was a clear night and I could pick up his broadcast, made home seem just a little closer.

    1. Yep, there is often a special kind of connection between hometown broadcasters and those of us who grew up listening to them, dreaming with them and being part of their community. Come to think about it, I think there’s a metaphor in this somewhere :).

  2. There is just that certain something about one’s favorite ball team announcer. I know where you are coming from. It was like that here in Chicago back in the day when Jack Brickhouse stepped down from his “Hey-hey” days with the Cubs. And likewise when Harry Caray could no longer continue in his time with the Cubs due to a stroke. There are so many legends out there who have announced for their teams with such a passion in their play-by-play descriptions of the game. Fond times to keep in your heart.

    They all will be missed. Perhaps they all will one day meet on that awesome ball field in God’s kingdom!

  3. Great post Don! For those of us growing up with him, transistor radios under our pillows falling asleep to Vin and the stories about the game.

    I worked in the Dodger organization many years and was blessed to be around former players and Vin. What everyone says about Vin is what I experienced. He was a humble man who did not want attention drawn to him. This whole farewell has been uncomfortable for him.

    I look forward to hearing his final goodbye on Sunday in San Francisco. God truly blessed me with Vin’s lifelong example of loving others.

  4. I grew up near Los Angeles and my brother and father watched the Dodgers and Angels on TV. I remember hearing the name, Vin Scully many times. I’m glad he brought good times to so many people.

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