Famed Los Angeles Dodgers Broadcaster Vin Scully Has died The longtime Dodgers broadcaster was known for his quick wit, keen insight and deep baseball knowledge. His distinct voice was a joy to listen to and for a half-century he was Dodgers baseball.

Vin Scully, the famed Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster, dies at 94

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For more than six decades, an LA Dodgers baseball game didn't start before fans heard this.


VIN SCULLY: It's time for Dodger baseball.

MARTINEZ: Vin Scully began announcing games on radio and TV when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. He spent more time with one team than any announcer in pro sports history, before retiring in 2016. Vin Scully died last night at the age of 94. Ted Robbins has this appreciation.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: It wasn't just longevity that made Vin Scully great. It wasn't his baseball knowledge, which was prodigious. It was his distinctive voice, his poetic and philosophical asides, and his talent for making a personal connection with listeners. It was there from the start. Listen to this 1957 clip, just before catcher Joe Pignatano came up for his first at-bat as a Brooklyn Dodger.


SCULLY: Say, I tell you what. You might know the Pignatanos. If you do, maybe his wife's taking care of the baby, not watching or listening to the ballgame - give her a call. Looks like Joe's going to break into the Major Leagues tonight.


LARRY KING: There's a comfort zone. You feel home.

ROBBINS: Veteran broadcaster Larry King remembered Vin Scully from Brooklyn and LA. He recalled a game one season when the Dodgers were out of contention. But the sound of Scully's voice was mesmerizing.


KING: A meaningless game. I'm driving from LA to San Diego. I turn the game on, and I couldn't turn it off.


SCULLY: That's going to be hit into right field. Ethier on the run, picks it off. One away.

ROBBINS: He was as much a part of the team as the players on the field. You could hear Scully's voice emanating from radios people brought to Dodger Stadium. Some fans preferred his radio play-by-play to a TV broadcast without him.

Dodger fan Cary Gepner.

CARY GEPNER: You can listen to Vin Scully call a baseball game, and you don't need to watch the game because he paints a better picture than the television could ever paint. I love him.

ROBBINS: Vin Scully had baseball statistics ready, but he didn't rely on them. He once said statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost - for support, not illumination. It was the stories he told. They came from baseball, from Shakespeare, from anything he was curious about. Here's an example from an interview with member station KPCC.

SCULLY: We were playing on Friday the 13. And I thought, I wonder why the background of Friday the 13 - why it's such a big deal. So I looked it up, and it goes back into the 18 so-and-so's.

ROBBINS: So in between pitches, fans learned something new. When there was a big moment on the field, he conveyed the excitement, and there were plenty of big moments in his career. 1965 - a perfect game about to be pitched by Sandy Koufax.


SCULLY: One strike away. Sandy into his windup. Here's the pitch - swing and a miss. A perfect game.

ROBBINS: 1988 - Kirk Gibson's improbable pinch hit home run in Game 1 of the World Series.


SCULLY: High fly ball into right field. She is gone.

ROBBINS: For years, he also did network TV sports for CBS and NBC. Here's his call of the '86 Red Sox-Mets game, in which Bill Buckner let a ground ball through his legs at first base.


SCULLY: Little roller up along first, behind the bag. It gets through Buckner. Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it.

ROBBINS: Vincent Edward Scully was born in 1927 in the Bronx. He grew up a Giants fan. But after graduating from Fordham University, he was recruited by the legendary broadcaster Red Barber. Scully moved to the West Coast with the Dodgers in 1958. Later in his career, he cut back on the travel. A devout Roman Catholic, as he got older he'd ask God whether to come back for another season. God may have said yes, but Scully was glad to do it.

SCULLY: I'm so happy to be here. I know it sounds, you know, goofy, and I'm probably a little goofy. But, yeah, I'm honestly happy and deeply thankful.

ROBBINS: Finally, he decided age had caught up with him. After 67 seasons, 2016 was his last. Before the final homestand, the team held a moving ceremony at Dodger Stadium. At the end, Scully got up and spoke. He told the crowd that they kept him going every time they roared. And with his underrated humor, he answered the question, what are you going to do now?


SCULLY: Well, you know, if you're 65 and you retire, you might have 20 years left of life or more, and you better have some plans. When you're 89 and they ask you what your plans are, I'm going to try to live.

ROBBINS: Vin Scully once said a player had an injury which made him day-to-day. Then he paused and added, aren't we all?

Ted Robbins, NPR News.

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