From Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Dodgers’ Voice Has Called Them All

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Vin Scully grew up in New York playing stickball in the street, walking to the Polo Grounds to see his beloved New York Giants and hoping to one day become a broadcaster.

The Fordham University graduate more than fulfilled his dream by being the voice of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 seasons. The 88-year-old will retire at the end of the season.

“I love New York,’’ Scully told CNY in a telephone interview. “While I lived there, it was marvelous. In our neighborhood, we had an influx of Jewish refugees escaping from Hitler. We had simple, hardworking people. We had an awful lot of things you need in a neighborhood like a department store, grocery store and meat market.

“We were in our own little world by the George Washington Bridge. New York is a lot of little towns even though people don’t think of it that way. New York is a part of my life even though I’m not there anymore.”

Scully has called 25 World Series, 12 All-Star Games and three perfect games. Named Broadcaster of the Century in 2000 by the American Sportscasters Association, Scully won the 1982 Ford C. Frick Award, gaining him entrance into the broadcasting wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

“Vin Scully is the gold standard of our business. He gives us all a standard to strive for knowing we can never quite reach it because he’s just that good. How often in this world do we get someone who is universally praised and respected? Vin Scully is rightfully that,’’ said Ryan Ruocco, a Fordham University graduate and broadcaster for the ESPN and YES networks.

“Vin is definitely the kind of guy we all look up to and admire. He has broadcasted with such talent and tremendous storytelling ability and lived with such grace.”

Scully grew up in a Catholic home, attending Fordham Prep and Fordham University in the Bronx. He returned to Fordham University in 2000 to receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree and deliver the commencement address to the graduating class. WFUV (90.7 FM), Fordham University’s radio station, presents an annual Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting with previous winners including Bob Costas and Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick.

Scully said he caught the first break in his career path at WFUV following his service in the U.S. Navy.

“When I came back, they had an FM station,” said Scully, who attends Sunday Mass at Dodger Stadium before home games.

“It’s a true FM station, not a campus radio station. There it was, an opportunity I never thought I’d have. It certainly put me in the right direction. It’s one of the few things that helped me get my first job in Washington, D.C., and I was off and running.”

Scully joined Red Barber in the Brooklyn Dodgers booth in 1950 during an era when six of the first eight Ford C. Frick Award winners were calling New York baseball games—he and Barber with the Dodgers, Russ Hodges and Ernie Harwell with the Giants, and Mel Allen and Curt Gowdy with the Yankees.

“Going professionally, you have to be yourself to stand out,” Scully said. “Red Barber told me when I was starting, ‘I want you to be yourself because there is no one else like you.’ It’s hard for anyone starting out to do this. You borrow a little of this and a little of that. When you start out, you’re not very sure who you are.”

Scully found his identity in the booth by allowing the roar of the crowd to tell a story and with his own storytelling ability. The philosopher Socrates, facts about the No. 13 and the history of beards are among the topics Scully discussed on the air early in the 2016 season.

Scully also called some of most memorable moments in sports including Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in Atlanta against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Joe Montana’s touchdown pass to Dwight Clark for the San Francisco 49ers versus the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship game and Bill Buckner’s error on Mookie Wilson’s grounder in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series won by the Mets over the Boston Red Sox. Wilson’s grounder scored Ray Knight with the winning run before the Mets won Game 7 to capture the championship.

Scully will call his final game at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Oct. 2 before retiring to be with his wife Sandra and three additional generations of Scullys. He is calling only home games, three games in Anaheim, nine games in San Diego and the final series of the season in San Francisco in 2016.

“I will miss the roar of the crowd,” Scully said. “I’m not going to find that at home, down the street or under a tree. It’s the one thing I’ll miss.’’

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