This may be a head scratching title, but there is merit behind it. Of course, we all know that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a rich and endearing history that spreads across America, from Brooklyn to Southern California. The legendary players that have worn the royal blue and white make up a list that few other franchises in North American professional sports can match. The most famous of them all is a no-brainer. Jackie Robinson takes that in a landslide. His influence on Major League Baseball was so refined and adored. Robinson’s number 42 jersey is retired in every American and National League stadium. Thirty teams honor the man who paved the way for African-American athletes to compete and excel not only in baseball, but pro sports in general.
Vin Scully is the Second Greatest Dodger of All-Time
How Popular Can A Broadcaster Be?
After Robinson, a list of the greatest Dodgers in history could run twenty deep. This franchise is unique. First of all, they have a former manager who is arguably the most famous field boss in baseball history. That would be the one and only Tommy Lasorda. The famous Italian, who roamed the Los Angeles bench for 21 seasons, has cemented his stature in Dodger lore, and it is well deserved.
They also have Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully. The Brooklyn native, as all sports fans must be aware by now, is about to wrap up the greatest historical performance in sports broadcasting history. Scully has just three games left to call, and they take place at AT&T Park in San Francisco this coming weekend. Those games cap off his 67th season as the play-by-play voice of the Dodgers. Scully, who turns 89 next month, is still near the top of his game. It is a therapeutic and surreal experience to listen to a man nearing 90 years of age using his style and presence to entertain fans nightly for three-plus hours, as he has always done. The sun still rises in the East and sets in the West. We still pay taxes, and Vin Scully still calls Dodgers baseball games. It has to be this way because it has always been this way.
What a Send-Off
The adulation Scully received to finish off his last series at home on the hallowed grounds at Chavez Ravine last weekend against the Colorado Rockies was the culmination of a love affair lasting six and a half decades between fans and the voice of the team, Scully. Dignitaries, Hollywood celebrities, and former players all came to Dodger Stadium for this extravagant send-off. Lasorda, of course, was there, too.
In the end, this week of good-byes is more than just a Southern California event. Scully, as has been the case for many years, is the last remnant of the franchise’s Brooklyn days. Scully is a Brooklynite. His first eight years at the helm as a Dodger play-by-play announcer took place there. The national presence he possesses boomerangs from New York back to Los Angeles, while hitting all points in between. He has called dramatic, nationally televised championship games not just for baseball, but the NFL as well. Scully is, and always was, multi-talented. He could probably call a darts match and keep fans of NASCAR on the edge of their seats while watching it.
Born To Call Baseball Games
In the end, as we look back on 67 years of supreme greatness at one’s profession, it is apparent that baseball was meant for Vin Scully, just as he was destined for baseball immortality. The laid-back style of regular season baseball allows Scully to paint a picture of not just the game, but the atmosphere, the weather, and even the vibe of the crowd. Each and every night, it never stopped.
The stories he told are what set him above his colleagues. One example of this came earlier this season against those same Giants he will close out his career with this weekend. It involved San Francisco ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner and a snake. Bumgarner killed the snake at a Scottsdale ranch. Inside the remnants of the killed rattler, a rabbit was found, still alive. It was Scully at his best. He didn’t just relate an anecdote, he brought viewers with him to the cattle ranch. Fans might not remember who won that game, but the story is ingrained for life. That is his gift, and that is why a color commentator was never needed on his broadcasts. He had enough color commentary for two or three, as some booths still go with today.
All Amazing Things Must Come to a Close
Now, it will end. Vin Scully will walk off into the sunset on Monday, 14 months before his 90th birthday. He deserves the rest as much as he deserves what he has received this past week in his honor. His legacy is signed, sealed, and delivered. When fans across the continent think about Dodger greats, Scully’s name should be on that list. Heck, it already is, to be completely truthful. He is not a player, and never was one outside of some little league appearances in Brooklyn.
The list legendary Dodgers is long and filled with names like Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, and Orel Hershiser, to name but a few. A broadcaster and a manager belong on that list. Vin Scully and Tommy Lasorda. It is not that way with every franchise. It is with the Dodgers. He will be missed.