July 25th, 1977: 1st inning. Lenny Randle singles. Goes to 3rd on Felix Millan’s single and scores on Steve Henderson’s double. Mets beat the Dodgers 1-0 at Dodger Stadium.
Ho hum, right?
For most maybe, but for me, it was the first time I heard the magic of Vin Scully. On the way to the park, my friend Dean couldn’t believe I never listened to the iconic broadcaster. Scully, along with Jerry Doggett and Ross Porter made the game come alive. In those days radio was the main, and most of the time, only source of Scully art. The man gave me a words eye view of each and every game. He told stories that never distracted from the action. The most amazing thing, he never missed a pitch while spinning tales of baseball lore.
Barely a teen at the time, for extra money I pulled weeds for Dean’s father. In the background every summer day, you guessed it, Vin Scully. No game was ever the same, but Scully never changed.
Fast forward nearly 36 years later, and there I am working at Camelback Ranch for the White Sox. Sitting in an empty booth a couple hours before game time, I hear a knock on the open door. To my surprise, it is the man himself. Vin Scully looks at me and asks if he could share the room with me. I am in awe! I squeak out, “sure”, in probably the softest voice possible. For the next half-hour we small talk about the Dodgers, White Sox and conversations I have forgotten. If I didn’t know better, you would’ve thought we were old pals shooting the breeze.
Having to leave, I got to the door. Looking back I had no idea what to say so I just said, “Goodbye Vin”. If I could go back and replay that ending, I might, but it is still one of my greatest sports days ever.
3 years later and there I am, along with 50,000 other saying goodbye to, arguably, the greatest broadcaster ever. Dodger Stadium was electric that day, with every shot of Scully eliciting a standing ovation. Sadly, we all knew this was the last broadcast for Scully at Chavez Ravine, but we all knew he couldn’t leave without a bang. Corey Seager and Charlie Culberson supplied the fireworks for the departing hero. Scully left an even greater impression..
67 years as a broadcaster.. We were all lucky to have been along for the ride.