Vin Scully (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
On Saturday Baseball Prospectus had an event at Dodger Stadium. Baseball Prospectus has put these on all over the league this year but this one had something the other ones didn't have, Vin Scully. Former Dodger General Manager Dan Evans, who now writes for Baseball Prospectus, introduced Vin (From what I could tell, Evans still highly regarded by the staff at the Stadium and certainly Vin Scully. Also, Evans later told me that when he went up to get Scully, Vin was waiting in the golf cart with 2 bottles of water. Vin also told Evans that he loves BP's website and reads it for his prep).
Vin talked about how he got started in radio: When he was graduating (he had been working for his college radio station), he and a lady friend (as Vin said a girl friend not a girlfriend), sent 150 letters to stations from Maine to Florida, as they came to a Washington DC station, WTOP (as Vin described it 50,000 watts, that's the Major League), Vin said no they can't send one there and his friend said, it's only going to cost a 3 cent stamp. As it turned out, WTOP was the only station to reply to his letter, they first asked for some tapes and eventually he went down to DC for an audition. After he got the job, he found out he was one of 52 auditions.
Vin was hired as a summer replacement, he opened the station at 5:00 a.m. and worked all day, he loved it. As the summer ended, WTOP offered him a job as a radio announcer starting the following February. They also gave him some letters of introduction so he could maybe pick up some work until then. One of the letters was to Red Barber, who besides being the Brooklyn Dodger play-by-play broadcaster, was the director of sports for CBS. A few days later, when he got home, his mother excitedly asked Vin to guess who called him that day, he said he had no idea, she said Red Skelton (a famous radio comedian and movie/television performer). Vin knew that it was Barber who called him.
Vin then told the story about his first job for CBS, Barber was impressed by the fact that he didn't complain about the work conditions (no booth, worked on the roof at Fenway Park in November) Barber then assigned him to the Harvard/Yale game. When Ernie Harwell left the Dodger job that winter, Barber decided to hire Scully. Vin said that spring he was on a one month option. Ultimately, he stayed on and has been on the job for the last 63 seasons.
Vin said the biggest impact on his introduction to LA fan base was the transistor radio and how fans brought them to the game. Vin said he doesn't think it was just to listen him, it would have happened no matter who got the job, but once they saw and heard the radio feedback at the games, they knew they were on to something.
Vin was wearing the 1988 World Series ring, he said that years ago, they found the mold for the 1955 ring and Peter O'Malley had two rings made, one for Tommy Lasorda and Scully, so now he has all the rings.
Vin did say that it is unlikely that he will go to the series in New York to see the Dodgers visit the Yankees because the Dodgers are scheduled to go to San Diego the next day and he doesn't think his "old bones" would appreciate that trip.
He told the audience about his recollection of calling Henry Aaron's 715th home run. Scully closed the interview by saying the night before as he was swapping stories about their ball clubs, he told Cardinal broadcaster, John Rooney to watch for Luis Cruz. Vin said he would remind Rooney about that again.
Vin Scully is like that comfortable pair of jeans or the plaid shirt that worn out in all the right places. He is forever charming and respectful of his fans. It was only a 24 minute interview but is was certainly among the best of the thousands of minutes I have spent at Dodger Stadium.