When Vin Scully died, cries from the city filled the air around Los Angeles. And now that he’s gone, we sit in silence with tears in our eyes, embracing a man who was a national treasure for generations of Dodgers fans. News of Scully’s passing was met with a palpable sense of grief.
We lost a beloved icon. Scully, the voice of the Dodgers for 67 years, died Tuesday night. He was 94. The Dodgers announced the sad news he had died on Twitter. The legendary broadcaster’s death saddens the sports world. The night of his death, our stomachs sunk and tears came down from our eyes. This is a very sad night for all Dodgers fans and Dodgers players from past to present.
As a master storyteller, he captivated the hearts and imaginations of people around baseball with his distinctive, smooth voice, devoting his life to broadcasting excellence, spending his life telling any kind of great story and changing the way we thought about sports. Everything he did, from the way he told stories while calling balls and strikes to the way he spoke with a different cadence in his voice to the way he engaged his audience with a poetic style that sounded like sweet music to our ears, has been self-defining.
Perhaps Scully was the most interesting tale of Los Angeles. A Hall of Fame legend, he quite famously was the summer soundtrack to some of the greatest moments in the history of the sport. With his fame, his intellect, his voice, his exuberance, his grace, his lessons, he taught us how to appreciate the game. There will never be another Vin Scully. Nobody has come close. Nobody has done it better. And nobody will ever do it better.
Scully’s scrapbook, in addition to his stories, this audio book narrated by him created spellbinding and shared memories. Scully is gone but a legacy is etched into our minds and hearts forevermore. He was a familiar face around Los Angeles, the sound of the summer, and a poet laureate. As a 36-year-old lifelong fan of the Dodgers who grew up listening to his play-by-play announcing and the eloquent words that he spoke, I was well impressed and marveled at his vast array of references and stories. His impact was felt as he touched the lives of us all with his kindness and gentle voice that he generously shared with the world.
Nobody’s going to forget who Scully is just because he was the best to ever do it. The wisdom he imparted to all, the level of dedication, passion and the unprecedented insight he brought to the game will be solely missed. There is a deep sadness, an emptiness, the jumble of emotions that leaves you numb. It’s hard. Strange, knowing that he’s no longer with us.
For more than six decades, Scully sat behind the microphone, overlooked the diamond from above in the press box and showcased his vibrant, genuine personality on a summer day and night. His knowledge, combined with his impeccable character and ever-pleasant smile made him joy for Dodgers fans in Los Angeles. And when someone like Scully brought up never-before-told stories, even if it was about the player from the opposing team, it was poetic. There was nothing like that anywhere. Baseball fans everywhere gravitated to him, because every night he shared the seemingly endless strings of baseball stories that were both fascinating and true. Nobody can duplicate that.
It was the fall of 1988, a night in Los Angeles, when Scully called Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit walk-off home run in Game 1 of the World Series — “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” Long before that moment, he was on the call on April 8, 1974 when Hank Aaron, the legendary Braves star, hit his milestone 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s home-run record. In the summer of 1965, Scully called Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, one of his most legendary moments.
And now after years of unmatched longevity and after years of unparalleled displays of romance and brilliance, fueled by his boundless love for the sport, Scully is remembered for his graciousness, class and great dignity he showed. And we tuned in to watch and listen to a man who made you feel as though you were there, and he did it how he had done most things, by exhibiting a friendly and modest persona.
The real MVP truly was Scully, who was more than just a broadcaster. He began broadcasting games in the era of Jackie Robinson, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles, dating back to the spring of 1950. At the age of 23, Scully was thrust onto the national scene, becoming the youngest person to call a World Series game. The longest-tenured as a broadcaster with a single team is by Scully. Friends and players say he was humble, smart, intelligent, honest and caring. There’s nothing but nice things to be said about a man who felt inspired to bring the excitement of baseball on summer nights to local bars, in our living rooms, or in our backyards.
They will never forget him. His final broadcast was a Dodgers road game in San Francisco at the very same stadium the team played the night he passed. On Oct. 2, 2016, he had this to say: “May God give you, for every storm, a rainbow; for every tear, a smile; for every care, a promise; and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life seems, a faithful friend to share; for every sigh, a sweet song, and an answer for each prayer.
“You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know, in my heart, I’ve always needed you more than you’ve ever needed me, and I’ll miss our time together more than I can say. But, you know what, there will be a new day, and, eventually, a new years, and when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, ooh, rest assured, once again, it will be time for Dodger baseball. So, this is Vin Scully wishing you a pleasant good afternoon wherever you may be.”
This was the final chapter to be written that involved the Hall of Fame broadcaster. Scully sure could connect, with fans, with teammates and with a city. What a loss he is for Los Angeles, what a loss he is for the Dodgers, what a loss he is for the baseball community. It’s been a pleasure for L.A. to meet Vin. Now he’s gone but he’s forever in this city’s heart.