Rounding third and heading for home in a week of baseball-themed posts, here’s one for anyone who seriously follows Major League Baseball.
When I was a kid, I fantasized about becoming the next Maury Wills. I would play shortshop for the Los Angeles Dodgers, slap singles all around the park and steal bases with abandon.
When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I turned to a second scenario. I would become the next Vin Scully. I would take the place of the Dodgers’ play-by-play announcer, calling the action and dropping wry observations along the way.
Well, neither dream came true. But my love of sports as a youth did propel me into a long career as a journalist. I broke in as a prep sports writer for a newspaper in my northern California hometown. I later switched to news reporting in college and now, here I am, retired and just back from a baseball road trip that took me to three stadiums in four days in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Today, though, is a day to pay respects to the one and only Scully, who, at 88, is into his 67th year as the Dodgers’ broadcaster and planning to retire after this season.
He is the subject of a terrific profile in Sports Illustrated that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who’s heard him call a game.
Scully’s gig began in 1950 in Brooklyn during the Jackie Robinson era. During his time in the booth, he’s been conversing with players who broke into the major leagues between 1905 and 2016. Think about that.
As SI’s Tom Verducci writes:
“Vin Scully is only the finest, most-listened-to baseball broadcaster that ever lived, and even that honorific does not approach proper justice to the man. He ranks with Walter Cronkite among America’s most-trusted media personalities, with Frank Sinatra and James Earl Jones among its most-iconic voices, and with Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor and Ken Burns among its preeminent storytellers.
“His 67-year run as the voice of the Dodgers—no, wait: the voice of baseball, the voice of our grandparents, our parents, our kids, our summers and our hopes—ends this year. Scully is retiring come October, one month before he turns 89.”
It’s a marvelous piece. Read it and you’ll appreciate the man even more. He is a national treasure.