National Pastime Radio: Vin Scully

October 9, 2013 · 2 comments

Speaking of the Dodgers, the legend (wait for it) ary broadcaster was himself the subject of this interview on All Things Considered.

Scully began working for the Dodgers in 1950, but he wasn’t calling that historic 1951 playoff game with the NY Giants where Pafko was left hanging. From “Vin Scully Remembers His Greatest Calls,” by Daniel Riley in the October 2011 issue of GQ:

The Call: Scully serves as an apprentice in the announcer’s box to Dodgers’ legends Red Barber and Connie Desmond; Thomson’s walk-off homer ends the Dodgers’ season and sends the Giants to the World Series (Don DeLillo would forever immortalize the game in his masterwork, Underworld.) *Scully wasn’t at the mike for this one, but he witnessed the shot from the booth.

“Fortunately for me—and I say that without any false humility—I wasn’t on the air for that game. That might have been an awful lot for a kid. I was only 23 at the time, and I was behind Red Barber and Connie Desmond. We had a wonderful relationship in the booth. Red was certainly a father figure, Connie was like an older brother, and I was the kid. So there we were broadcasting the game. The Polo Grounds was in a horseshoe form, and so was the press box. It was kind of a low-ceiling press box, so I was hunched over, leaning over Red—not touching him, but leaning, watching the home run.

Red had always said to me ‘Never get close to the players, because it psychologically might alter your judgment. You don’t want to criticize a good friend and then it makes your description less clear and honest.’ Of all the fellas on the team—and I was virtually as young as most of them—Ralph Branca [who gave up the home run] was my closest friend. His wife-to-be was Ann Mulvey, and a couple of times I dated her roommate, and the four of us would just go out to dinner, that kind of thing. So I remember watching the home run, seeing Ralph, that big body just slump over and walk off. I knew where Ann was sitting, and I remember seeing her with a handkerchief up over her face. It was very hard. I remember going into the clubhouse. In the old Polo Grounds, you were in the press box behind home and the clubhouse was in centerfield; that’s about 480 feet or so, and you walked on the field all the way across, and then you went up a flight of stairs—one to the Giants’s side and one to the visitors. When I went up to ours, Ralph was spread-eagle on the stairs with his face down—there’s a classic picture of that—and I looked, horrified, and I kind of tiptoed around him and went over into the trainer’s room. Now, it was deathly quiet in our clubhouse, not a sound, but just across a very short hallway was the Giants clubhouse, and I mean, they were going wild! It’s bad enough to lose, but to hear the guys who have just beaten you, it really added to the atmosphere. I remember Pee Wee Reese was sitting on a rubbing table—Jackie Robinson was on another—and they were both quiet. I came in and I sat over in the corner. All of a sudden Pee Wee said, ‘You know Jackie, what’s always amazed me?’ And Jackie said, ‘What Pee Wee?’ And he said, ‘After all these years that this game hasn’t driven me crazy.’ I’ll always remember that. The impact was so great. The Dodgers were 13 and a half games in front in August and they wind up losing. So here I am, my first two years, and I’ve got so much heartache—not so much for me, I was kind of in shock—but for them, my friends, to see them all suffering so much. Wow. I guess I thought, ‘I’ll never see anything like that again.’ “

Here’s Scully doing Don Larsen’s perfect game, which celebrated an anniversary yesterday.

By the way, you can follow the 86-year-old on Twitter: @VinScullyTweet.  (Although Scully did take over the Dodgers’ Twitter feed, or whatever you call it, for a game this season, he does not, in fact have his own account. Thanks to Emma for pointing that out.)

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  • Emma ⚾

    Nice post on Vin Scully. I believe The @VinScullyTweet belongs to a fan paying tribute to Vin.

  • Ron_Kaplan

    Right you are, Emma. He did take over the official Dodger twitter at some point for a game. I’ll remove the reference.

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