Dodgers Have a New TV Deal, and I'm Thinking About Vin Scully

Howard Cole

With the Dodgers and AT&T announcing a new TV deal yesterday, my thoughts have turned to Vin Scully. Ah, who am I kidding? I always think about Vin Scully.

I think about the lifetime of listening to Vin on KFI, on KABC, on KLAC, on KFWB, on that now-defunct all-sports station I can no longer recall, and on KABC a second time. I remember him moonlighting (I guess you can call it moonlighting) to do football and golf at CBS, and at NBC. I think about how, while at the pubic address mic for an old-timers' game, he'd save the Sandy Koufax introduction for last, with this: "It's goose-bump time!"  I think about meeting him in the press box men's room, and nervously joking about washing my hands first before shaking his. A full 20 seconds and everything.

I hear his voice in my head through the seasons of every year; a little more during the winter, and well farther into the spring than I would've liked this time. But whatareyagonnado? 

I recall vividly the exact words he'd choose at different times in his career; some the historic calls and others just little vignettes (Vin-ettes!). I hear the stories he used to tell, some quite often. And I'd smile.

So I thought I'd share a few that have come to mind today, and see if I can make you smile too.

I'm not going to lie. The Kirk Gibson call, while glorious; well, I just can't anymore. I can't. Enough with the brake lights and 1988 already. Los Angeles needs a new World Series championship. Big-time. And then another one soon after, so we don't have to watch the same replays for the next 32 years or so.

Skipping Gibby, Mr. Koufax, "September the 9th, 1965, in the City of Angels," comes to mind. I had the 45 rpm as a child and played it raw. I imagine you can still find it on eBay. If not, here it is. Recite it with me, will you?

OK, that was obvious. Perhaps less so are the stories Vin used to tell. If I heard the one about Roy Campanella shaving with a tongue depressor once, I heard it a hundred times. It was always fresh and always fun. Walter Alston on the team bus challenging any man to step outside to fight him, finding no takers? Maybe 50 times.

I'd listen in wonder as Vin would wonder at a player losing a ball in the sun, with the sunglasses fixed atop the bill of the cap, where they could be of no use to him. Decades later it's still a wonder. "They never learn." 

Here's one. While with today's no-pitch intentional walk this would no longer apply, why in the world would a manager -- every manager, really -- bring in a new pitcher only to instruct him to walk the first batter, when he could just as easily have the exiting man throw the four wide ones? You're asking a reliever to miss on purpose four times and then throw strikes, right?

You remember how Vin always said that the pitch behind the batter was the most dangerous kind, because the natural reaction is to step back, away from the plate. And how Vin always suggested we do as he did, and watch the outfielder instead of the flight of a long fly ball. I was thinking exactly that from my seat in the Club Level on October 15, 1988. Yeah, that one again. I don't know about you, but I was watching Jose Canseco.

Don Drysdale with one too many fastballs right down Broadway to Henry Aaron. You can look it up alphabetically or by most homers allowed in his career (17). Vin's expression: "That was like trying to throw a lamb chop past a wolf."

After a Dodgers' home run, "we've got some Union Oil Autoscript to award."

For some reason, I remember a period of time, probably between the late 1960s and early '70s, when Vin would sign off a broadcast with "the Dodgers go under the waves again." In other words, they lost, and had been losing all too often. Then after the interview with Jerry Doggett, one lucky player would be the recipient of some fine threads, courtesy of Harris and Frank.

I also remember a call from around the same time that went something like this: "iiinnn comes Davis, iiinnn comes Parker, here comes Crawford on a triple by Lefebvre!" No doubt Vin was watching the outfielder on a long fly ball.

I remember the story about how when Burt Hooton threw a no hitter - as a Chicago Cub - and called his wife afterwards. She was happy for him (happy for Happy) but had to admit she didn’t know what a no hitter was.

I remember the game show, "It Takes Two."

Vin regarding Roger Craig: "You have to be good to lose 20 games." Re a ball hit just so, “sounded like he hit it with the morning paper.” About almost any park in America when things turned dark: "The natives are sullen and mutinous." About a certain Phillies' reliever: "Mitch Williams pitches like a man with his hair on fire." Roger McDowell's pants? "Droopy drawers." Benito Santiago: "From his knees!!" And finally, "Eugenio Velez looks like Ghandi on a fast."

Please share your memories in the comments section below. And remember, glove conquers all. 

Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments (11)
No. 1-9
The Whip
The Whip

In ‘56 or ‘57 I was listening to an afternoon rain delayed game from Wrigley and Vin was talking about growing up in upper Manhattan and walking through Dr. Paterno’s gardens, which is where I lived, the gardens were converted to housing called Castle Village. I met Vin one time after a game at Candlestick and I asked him about it, he told me that he lived on Haven Ave., about two blocks from Castle Village. He then invited me to walk back to the broadcast truck with him! He was so nice, truly one of the great exciting moments of my life! I sent him some photos of the neighborhood and he sent me a wonderful thank you card. All the best Vin you are a true gift to many of us!

bentguy1
bentguy1

Fine piece, Howard. Vin stands (or speaks) alone—no one was, is or will be better. So smooth but so real, and as your article shows, could pull a rabbit—no, two—out of the microphone whenever the occasion suited. A voice for the ages, but a great, humane guy more than that.

Arky
Arky

Great piece Cole. Vinny's voice was indeed the sound of summer in Los Angeles.

gxn
gxn

VS is a living legend...the “Babe Ruth of Broadcasting”

J.B. Ellis
J.B. Ellis

I used to order the mlb extra innings just to hear him announce the games as I went to bed in NY. He was the best I have ever heard.

bhturnow
bhturnow

One of the greatest ever for the game of baseball. Great article. Thanks for sharing your insight on Vince.

Dodgerexpert
Dodgerexpert

I remember the many times Vin would say nothing after a big moment and let the listeners hear the noises of the crowd like we were at the game. Also, transistor radios everywhere at the game to the point of not needing to bring your own radio.

DougM56
DougM56

When my parents marriage started to fall apart, there were many nights of arguing and slamming doors. The thing that got me thru was Vin “reading a nighttime story “ to me every night. He’s a part of my fiber.....great article Howard, as we’ve come to expect.

Diamondsky
Diamondsky

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