Recorded History: Vin Scully Calls a Koufax Milestone When Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax threw his first no-hitter in 1962, the team didn't preserve legendary announcer Vin Scully's broadcast of the game. But a rare recording has surfaced, opening a window on the excitement of that night.
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Recorded History: Vin Scully Calls a Koufax Milestone

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Recorded History: Vin Scully Calls a Koufax Milestone

Recorded History: Vin Scully Calls a Koufax Milestone

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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K: Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale on the pitcher's mound, and Vin Scully in the broadcaster's booth.


VIN SCULLY: All right. The ninth inning. Five-to- nothing Dodgers, and Koufax has finally come face-to-face with it.

: Vin Scully has been broadcasting Dodgers games for almost six decades. He called this one on June 30, 1962 for KFI in Los Angeles. The Dodgers were beating the Mets and no Mets batter had a hit going into the ninth inning.


SCULLY: Koufax goes to the rosin bag and gives it a squeeze, and here we go. Sandy pulls at the peak of his cap, bends at the waist to read the signs and goes to work. Into his windup, the pitch to Woodling. Curve ball for a strike.


SCULLY: You'll hear a roar on every strike and a groan on every ball.

: No one knew Vin Scully's call of that game had been recorded. The tape we've been listening to went undiscovered for years. We have this recording today thanks to Jim Governale. He joins us now. Welcome.

JIM GOVERNALE: Thank you very much.

: And we're also joined by Mark Langill, the Dodgers' team historian. Good morning.

MARK LANGILL: Good morning.

: Let's begin with you, Jim Governale. Where did this tape come from? How was it discovered? You're here because you discovered it.

GOVERNALE: Yes. Well, many years ago when my Uncle David, 14 at the time, was just kind of tinkering with this big reel-to-reel recorder that was actually his father's - my grandfathers. And I think he could kind of sense history in the making listening to the Dodgers' game. I don't know if he held the radio up to or how he did it. But that's what happened.

: And you discovered it many years later.

GOVERNALE: Right. Well, many years later, 1990 actually, when my grandfather passed away, my grandmother had a box that she found, I think in the garage, of several old reel-to-reel tapes. I saw one of the boxes, you know, which we have right here at the studio, and there is a newspaper clipping on it. It says, Koufax No-Hitter.

: That's a hint. I'm looking at it. It looks like he'd glued or taped it on.

GOVERNALE: Right. I saw that and it piqued my curiosity. And I thought, wow.

: Amazing that you waited rather a few years before you did. I mean, you didn't just grab it right that day. But when you finally heard it and realized what it was, you did a kind of special thing.

GOVERNALE: Yeah. I did sit on the recording for a while. I knew it was really special but I wanted to put it in into the right hands. I explored lots of different avenues. I explored the possibility of maybe selling it. But I have so much respect for Vin Scully that I thought I really got to get this into Vinnie's hands.


SCULLY: Koufax straddling a rubber. Christopher, a short lead at first, with Harkness directly back off him. Crowd very quiet. Now at Koufax on the rubber. The one-two pitch to Ashburn. Fastball. A groundball to Wills. He goes to Burright, they get one. To Harkness - not in time.

: Now, I have this tape in my hand and it is very - looks like it really has been in a drawer or an attic for many years, which brings us to Mark Langill, Dodgers' team historian as we said. Explain to us why it's such a gem, in terms of Sandy Koufax and what he did on the mound that day.

LANGILL: This was so unheard of when we first thought that it could exist. There's just no way that there is a recording of this because it would resurface after all these years.


SCULLY: Sandy straddles the rubber, leans on his right knee, stares into Roseboro. Now he's set. Kanehl waiting. Strike two pitch. Curve ball. A big bouncer to the Gilliam. Jim has it, goes to Burright. They get one and that's all. Two out in the ninth inning and Felix Mantilla the batter. And listen to this crowd.


SCULLY: So the entire ballgame, Koufax perhaps his biggest night, maybe even more important to him than his 18 strikeouts against the Giants. And it's all on the line as Felix Mantilla is the batter. On deck, Frank Thomas...

: Do you think that this recording would have been as exciting, had it not been Vin Scully behind the mike?

LANGILL: You never know how a broadcaster is going to react to something like that. The great part about baseball is the unpredictability. In that moment, the next batter coming to the plate, he could have whistled a single to center field and broken everyone's heart. And Vin Scully is able to, in that moment, keep his cool, but keep us also on the edge of our seats wondering if Koufax is going to get that last out.

SCULLY: The big guns of the New York Mets is on deck. Frank Thomas. I would imagine plate umpire, Mel Steiner, feels the tension and the responsibility. They're all well aware of what's at stake at the moment. Koufax set, and the pitch. Fastball. A big bouncer down to Wills. He has it, goes to Burright, no hitter.


: Jim Governale, you've no doubt heard this moment from your uncle's recording many times. Have you talked to Vin Scully?

GOVERNALE: I have not met Vin yet. You know, I'm just like any other probably normal fan. I look upon Vin Scully as just this regal, incredible human being with a great voice. And just - when I do finally get the chance to meet him, I'll probably, kind of, be at a loss for words. But I really am looking forward to it.

SCULLY: All of the Dodgers are out to mob Koufax, halfway between third and home. Fairly, with his arms around Sandy, pushing him towards the dugout. Other Dodgers leaping over the knot of players to just touch him. He...

: That's Vin Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's first no-hitter on June 30, 1962. You're hearing it, thanks to Jim Governale, who is a broadcaster himself here in Los Angeles for talk radio KKLA. Mark Langill is team historian for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And thanks - both of you - very much for joining us.

GOVERNALE: Thank you.

LANGILL: Thank you for having us.

SCULLY: Sandy Koufax pitches a no-hitter for the Dodgers. The first Dodger no-hitter since Sal Maglie turned it in 1956. And the first Dodger, a left- hander, to pitch a no-hitter since way back in 1908. And he is now walking towards home plate, and the crowd giving him a standing ovation.

: Hear more from that game in 1962 at This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm Steve Inskeep.

SCULLY: This is Vin Scully speaking for Jerry Dogget inviting you to stay tuned to the post-game show coming right up.


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