I find political programming to be quite depressing, especially recently. Today when I should have been in church, but wasn’t for reasons beyond my control, I found myself being uplifted by Face the Nation, normally an impossibility. This day, host John Dickerson interviewed Vin Scully, the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers for six decades and a true ambassador for the game of baseball and all that is good about humankind. Vin was presented with one of the Presidential Medals of Freedom this past week, a wonderful choice by anyone’s standard.
I’ve never been a die-hard Dodger fan but there have been times…. During my childhood, I received a transistor radio for a birthday and remember listening to baseball games deep into the night when my parents thought I was asleep. Some nights Don Drysdale or Sandy Koufax might have been on the mound and if atmospheric conditions were perfect and they were playing on the East Coast, I might have heard the play by play by Vin Scully iconic voice.
During his interview, Vin Scully spoke of evenings spent lying under a four-legged Victrola as an eight-year-old listening to baseball games and dreaming that one day he would become a baseball announcer. I had similar dreams but mine were of performing inside of the foul lines, not outside of them. I am glad he realized HIS dreams.
Vin had one of those familiar voices that will be forever missed by me. I remember the 1988 World Series when Vin said into his microphone, “And look who’s coming up” as Kirk Gibson limped to the plate. With only one good leg Gibson drove the game winning home run over the right field wall as Scully said, “High fly ball into right field. She is gone! … In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”
My greatest memory of Vin Scully making the call was on April 8, 1974, when Hank Aaron sent a fourth inning, Al Downing fastball into the left field Atlanta bullpen and himself into the record books. As Aaron rounded the bases, Scully said into his microphone, “What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron.”
I will miss Vin Scully and hope that he enjoys his retirement as much as I enjoyed his work. What a glorious way to make a living…doing what you enjoy the most. Thank you, Vin Scully.
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