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Vin Scully is a sportscaster from the United States who announced games for the Dodgers baseball team for 67 seasons before retiring in 2016. Scully claims the record for the longest tenure as a single team’s broadcaster with his signature opening to every game. Many fans consider Vin Scully the greatest commentator in baseball history and his name, face, and iconic microphone grace the front of a popular hall of fame shirt.

Childhood and Family

Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927, in The Bronx, New York City and grew up in Manhattan’s Washington Heights district.[1] Vincent Aloysius Scully, his father, sold silk and Bridget, his red-headed mother, took care of the home and practiced her Roman Catholic faith. Vincent Aloysius contracted pneumonia in 1931, when Vin Scully was age 4, and died. His mother remarried Allan Reeve, a merchant sailor from England, and Reeve raised Scully as a son.

In 1936, Scully watched the second game of the World Series and felt sympathy for the New York Giants who lost badly. He also discovered his attraction to baseball watching the results. Scully graduated from Fordham Preparatory High School in The Bronx and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served for two years before enrolling at Fordham University.[2]

College and Early Radio Career

Vin Scully majored in journalism at Fordham University and co-founded WFUV, the school’s FM radio station. His love of sports echoed in his many extracurricular activities, including being the assistant editor for sports in The Fordham Ram, playing center field on the Fordham baseball team, and calling college basketball, football, and baseball games over the radio. He also sang in a barbershop quartet.

Vin Scully’s natural talent for play-by-play announcing earned him an easy transition to one of the greatest sports announcers of all time.

Scully wrote 150 different letters to east coast radio stations to get airtime on a larger station. He received a single letter back from WTOP, a CBS Radio partner in Washington, D.C., offering him a fill-in position.[3] In November 1949, Scully gained the attention of CBS Radio Network’s sports director, Red Barber, while covering the Boston University vs. University of Maryland football game.

Barber learned from a BU official that Scully reported the game from the stadium’s roof without any gloves or a coat because he would be in a warm press box. Scully never complained once and Barber recruited him as CBS’s college football correspondent.[4] Barber took Scully under his wing and recommended to the young broadcaster that to be successful meant keeping his opinions to himself, ignoring fellow announcers, and never openly supporting the team that pays you.

Dodgers in Brooklyn, New York

Red Barber invited Vin Scully to join himself and Connie Desmond as television and radio announcers for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950. In 1953, Barber and the 1953 World Series sponsor, Gillette, argued about Barber’s salary for broadcasting the game and Scully took his place. Vin Scully announced the Word Series game as the youngest person ever to do so the ripe age of 25. He naturally took over the role as the Dodgers main announcer in Brooklyn until the team left in 1957.[5]

Dodgers in Los Angeles, California

Vin Scully arrived with the Dodgers for the 1958 baseball season in Los Angeles.[6] Since Los Angeles baseball fans had not watched much professional baseball prior to the Dodgers’ arrival, they brought transistor radios to the live events in order to hear Scully and Jerry Doggett, his announcing partner, describe everything. So many people relied on Scully’s words that television and radio engineers could not compensate for the reverberating sound of his voice. Fans continued this until the team moved to a smaller stadium in 1962.[7]

The New York Yankees offered Scully the play-by-play announcer position, but he declined.[8] Dodger fans supported his decision by voting him the franchise’s “most memorable personality” to date. During the 1966 World Series, Scully disagreed with the decision to split game announcements between Curt Gowdy and then the representative team’s announcer. He called the first four and a half innings of Game 1 and refused to speak with Gowdy announcing.[9]

CBS, NBC, and Return to the Dodgers

CBS recruited Vin Scully again in 1975 to announce play-by-plays for National Football League (NFL) games broadcast by the network. One of Scully’s most famous calls in the NFL occurred January 10, 1982, when Dwight Clark caught a touchdown to win Super Bowl XVI for California’s San Francisco 49ers over the Dallas Cowboys. Scully also broadcast play-by-play for tennis tournaments and the PGA Tour during this time. In March 1982, the Dodger dedicated a street, Vin Scully Way, in Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida to Scully.

In 1983, NBC offered Scully a contract covering only baseball games on the weekends and during the playoffs. He left CBS and stayed with NBC until 1989.[10] He announced four National League Championship Series, three World Series, and four All-Star Games with NBC. He left NBC after the Championship Series of 1989 to focus on the Dodgers.[11] On April 21, 2001, the Dodgers renamed the press box after Scully.[12]

Personal Life and Retiring Vin Scully

Vin Scully lost his first wife, Joan Crawford, in 1972 to an accidental medical overdose after 15 years of marriage. He remarried to Sandra Hunt near the end of 1973. Scully and Crawford’s eldest child, Michael, died at age 33 on January 20, 1994, in a helicopter crash while checking oil pipelines after the Northridge earthquake. The next day, Sandra gave birth to their son Chad Michael.[13][14]

Vincent Scully suffered great personal tragedies during his career, but never allowed his emotions to affect his work.

Vin Scully announced he would be retiring eventually, but still returned for his 66th season in July 2014. On September 25, 2016, Vin Scully called his last regular season game at Dodger Stadium against the Colorado Rockies. He announced his final game on October 2, 2016, at AT&T Park in San Francisco.[15]

On November 22, 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama honored Scully with the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.[16] Vin Scully is a pop culture icon and fans can buy a t-shirt with his name and face on it from various retailers.[17]

References

===Bibliography===


Lee, S. (2014, August 13). Vin Scully Through the Years. Los Angeles Times.[4]

Smith, C. (2009). Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books.


Footnotes

  1. Lee, 2014
  2. Smith, 2009
  3. Smith, 2009
  4. Crowe, J. (2009, July 27). The day Vin Scully came in from the cold. Los Angeles Times.[1]
  5. Lee, 2014
  6. Lee, 2014
  7. Smith, 2009
  8. Lee, 2014
  9. Smith, 2009
  10. Lee, 2014
  11. Smith, 2009
  12. Lee, 2014
  13. Smith, 2009
  14. Lee, 2014
  15. Lee, 2014
  16. Macklin, O. (2016, November 22). Scully receives Presidential Medal of Freedom. MLB.com.[2]
  17. Amazon.com. (2017). Vin Scully Baseball Hall of Fame Broadcaster Men’s T-Shirt. Amazon.com.[3]

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