When I was growing up things were different.
In the early 1960’s when I was following baseball very closely, we had a black and white TV. That was not the color of the TV; it was the color of the transmission; black and white. This was before color TV. Not only that, but there was no ESPN or daily or weekly broadcast of games. The only games we saw were the 9 games a year against the arch-rival San Francisco Giants, broadcast from Candlestick Park in San Francisco. That’s right, a whopping 9 games every year. Of course the All-Star game was on TV and the World Series (back then, there was not a playoff system, so no televised playoff games). Thank goodness we also had baseball cards so we would know what some of these guys looked like!
In those days, the way to stay in touch with the Dodgers and baseball was to listen to the radio. Every night, as I remember it, I would listen to Vin Scully on KFI on my new-fangled transistor radio.
Vin was the best. Without any TV picture, Vin brought the game to life and to me, an 8-year old kid. Through his words you could envision Frank Howard hitting those towering home runs, or Maury Wills evading the tag and chalking up another stolen base. Sandy Koufax struck out so many opponents, while I listened in.
Vin Scully started his Dodger broadcast career in 1950, long before the Dodgers left Brooklyn for the sunny confines of Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. He brought the games to the sports fans of Los Angeles for 67 years, finally retiring in 2016. Over those many years he was the voice of baseball to millions of fans who otherwise would not have been part of the wins and losses of some of the greatest teams in baseball history.
Vin never caught a fly ball in deep right field in a professional baseball game. He never backhanded a grounder and threw out the runner at first. Scully never hit a single and rounded the bag, leaning toward second base. He never hit a home run, or even a triple off the top of the wall at Wrigley field;
And neither did I. But Vin Scully was there every night and like a trooper, and brought it all home to us kids and our parents, and made all of us Dodger fans for life.
Vin is now 93 years old. I just listened to a video message from him regarding the 2020 season, and the challenges we are faced with. As always, his voice is strong and easy to listen to. As always, he is the voice of victory in the battle against the other team. Vin carried the Dodger message for 67 years, though many victories and many defeats. He knows that you have to show up every day and play your best and keep your eye on the ball. When I really boil it down, Vin Scully was the one who introduced me to the world of sports. He never stole a base. He never hit a home run. He never struck out a batter. Vin just delivered the dream every night to my transistor radio and made me a sports fan for life.