I first got fascinated with listening to Vin during the summer of 1977. I was attending UC Santa Barbara and was ‘between apartments’ for the summer, so my good friend Dave Gutierrez let me sleep on a cot on his balcony on Abrego Ave. in Isla Vista.
I had heard some of Vin during the 60’s because my grandmother Dora used to listen to the games. She was a huge Dodgers fan. But I’d drifted away from listening until that summer of ’77.
I worked at a liquor store in Santa Barbara and when I’d get back to Dave’s place, he was usually cooking some Mexican food. He’d learned to cook from his grandmother in Boyle Heights. He’d also learned to love the Dodgers there. They could see Dodger Stadium from the front porch of his grandparents’ house. Chile verde was his specialty, and we’d always have plenty of Budweiser and yellow chiles en Escabeche.
On those summer evenings with the radio on as the verde simmered and the beer chilled, we’d hear that old song ‘It’s a beautiful day for a ball game, for a ball game today…’ and sing along. Then it was ‘Hi everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be…”
We’d wallow in the game and Vin’s words and stories. Often I would drift off to sleep on the balcony while listening. And the morning after, we’d always have Farmer John bacon for breakfast.
Vin Scully was just chosen as the top sportscaster of all-time by the American Sportscasters Association. Their list of the Top 50 Sportscasters of All Time was recently released by that organization with very little fanfare. It’s a good argument starter with baseball announcers Mel Allen, Red Barber and Curt Gowdy joining Vin in the top 4 spots (with Howard Cosell as number 5).
Vin was also featured in the L.A. Times today
looking back at the TV broadcast of Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect game. MLB Network recently showed the game and Vin saw a DVD copy.
Vin critiques the work of his then 28 year-old self, as well as the visual presentation of that game on TV. He points out that he was ‘defensive’ announcer, afraid of making mistakes. Vin did the play-by-play of the final half of the game with Mel Allen taking the first half.
“In this day and age,” Vin says in Diane Pucin’s article, “I would have started in the seventh inning. ‘Hey, call your friends, this guy is pitching a perfect game.’ That’s a major part of reporting the game now, getting other people to share in the experience. But in those days it was not done. It was a baseball superstition. You didn’t speak of a perfect game.
“I followed Mel’s lead. He started to count the outs, he handed the baton to me, I picked that up.”