Letters to Sports: It's time for readers' Vin Scully memories

·18 min read
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 12, 2016: Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is honored at home plate on his last Opening Day on April 12, 2016 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley is on the left and Magic Johnson is on the right.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully is honored before the home opener in 2016, the last season of his 67-year career. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

There aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to express how much I enjoyed listening to Vin Scully call a Dodgers game. If you looked up the words “great” and “legend” in the dictionary you would see the name Vin Scully, but the words that really define him are “a true gentleman.” RIP, Vin.

Frank Tierheimer

Cerritos

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Vin’s in Blue Heaven. Rest in Peace, Mr. Scully.

David Marshall

Santa Monica

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A legend is gone. An icon to all Dodgers fans and all baseball fans in general will no longer serenade us with his baseball wisdom, his unique play-by-play skills or his life stories. Vinny lived a good life, and appreciated every minute of it. His legendary quotes “And we’re going to Chicago”… signifying the Dodgers advancing to the World Series in 1959; and, of course, his “In a year of the improbable, the impossible has happened” in 1988 after Kirk Gibson’s amazing World Series homer, live on forever. “It’s time for Dodger baseball” in heaven, and the lovable old redhead is just the right guy to spin his magic there.

Marty Zweben

Palos Verdes Estates

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In a life that seemed so improbable it looks like the impossible has happened: the great Vin Scully has passed on. Thanks for the memories and friendship.

Rob Garcia

Goleta

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Growing up in Tucson, Ariz., in the 1960’s as a baseball fan I had two ways to enjoy live baseball games. One was the NBC game of the week with Curt Gowdy and the other was radio with Vin Scully. It was no contest in so many ways in favor of Vin, but one thing I remember most is how well Vin pronounced Latino names where Gowdy struggled. Rest in peace, Vin.

Carlomagno Lopez

Portland, Ore.

Vin Scully is flanked by Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.
Vin Scully is flanked by Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax during spring training in 1985. (Los Angeles Times)

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I don’t know that there was any player whom Vinny loved to interview more than the former Reds and Dodgers second baseman, the affable and rotund Lenny Harris.

The week he left, various celebrities and former players dropped by to visit Vin in the booth. I believe it may have been his last day in fact, when in pops Lenny Harris.

Well you could hear Vinny’s beaming smile oozing with delight as he exclaimed, “Well look who it is! Our old friend Lenny Harris!”

Not my old friend, our old friend.

And he and Vinny jousted and traded memories for the next couple of innings, and it was as if I’d dropped in on two old friends in a coffee shop. I felt like I was there.

So many ways to extol the virtues of such a wondrous being of pure light and joy, but everyone has done that. I just wanted to share a memory of the amazing, beloved Vin Scully with you.

Dan Johnson

Salem, Va.

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Vin Scully is embedded into the fabric of Los Angeles. His voice, poetry and wit — he would remind you of details which happened far earlier in a baseball game to explain how we had arrived at this point, told you about the players and their families and was a connection to a different era. I look up at the sky and see Dodger Blue.

Scott Bentley

Port Hueneme

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Thanks to all of you for your fine reporting.

It struck me that Vin Scully’s passing is for me a little like FDR’s passing was for my mom and aunt. They had never really known any other president.

Both men connected with millions through their voice over radio.

Bob Wieting

Simi Valley

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I grew up in Pittsburgh thinking I was in heaven listening to Bob Prince announce Pirates games. I then moved to Los Angeles and got to listen to Vin Scully announce Dodgers games and was in heaven.

Mark Kaiserman

Santa Monica

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When I heard on the Dodgers’ telecast that our beloved Vin Scully had passed away, I struggled to find the words to properly honor him, but perhaps that’s because he had already taken all the beautiful words.

Still, I need to borrow two of them:

Forever grateful.

Michael Lee Manous

Upland

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April 18, 1958, was the first time I heard the voice of Vin Scully. Opening day of Major League Baseball in Los Angeles at the Memorial Coliseum. I was there and thanks to the transistor radio and listening to Vin, I became a fan for life. Sixty-four years later I still have that green radio and the headphones too. More importantly l remember the radio announcer that day even more than the players on the field. RIP, Vinnie … there will never be anyone like you.

Richard Whorton

Studio City

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Upon hearing that Vin Scully passed away, I couldn't help but weep. We all knew this day would come, but it didn't matter. Vin was the master of calling baseball games, particularly my beloved Dodgers.

Growing up in 1960's and '70's, the local kids and I would stay out in the warm summer nights, huddled around my transistor radio, listening to Vin broadcast that evening's Dodger game. We would be glued to every word, imagining the action that he described as if we were there, even acting out the game like we were the players ourselves. When he signed off, there was even a segment on the radio called "Your Questions and our Answers." I decided once to write in with a question (not remembering what it was) and waited several days to see if my question was selected. It was not, but in the mail a few weeks later, I received a post card with Vin's picture on the front and a handwritten note on the back, saying "Thank You for Your Interest," which I still have today. For him to write back personally with a small note, just showed the kind of class and kindness this man personified. Thank You, Vin, for igniting my passion for baseball and the Dodgers. You'll always be remembered.

David VanProyen

Palmdale

Dodger fans wear VIN T-shirts in honor at Dodger Stadium.
Dodger fans wear VIN T-shirts in honor at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 5. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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Every time I see a batter dump a ball into the outfield for a hit, I think of Vin Scully’s favorite line:

“A small thing but mine own.” Vin Scully: The Bard of Baseball.

Al Harvey

Ventura

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In 1958, I was 7 and living in Garden Grove. I remember KFI on the dial of my plug-in radio or my transistor radio. I learned so much from a voice I only knew from afar.

Thanks, Vinny. My blessing is all the wonderful Dodger memories I can still cherish.

Phil Zantos

Anaheim

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Vin Scully was undoubtedly without peer as a sports announcer. For those admirers who are classical music fans he provided us with an extra special thrill. During the summer of 2017, the Hollywood Bowl placed Copland’s "Lincoln Portrait" on its agenda and made the only choice possible for the narrator by choosing Vin to recite passages from Lincoln’s most moving speeches. At age 89 he stood erect on the stage in front of a sellout crowd of 17,000 and with beautiful cadence, his legendary smooth voice and absolutely flawless pronunciation of every single word captivated the audience. Could anything be more sublime than the words of Abraham Lincoln voiced by Vin Scully?

Warren R. Procci

Pasadena

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I felt profound sadness upon Vin Scully’s passing since part of me also died … ”Kershaw kicks and deals, check swing. Did he? Yep, the umpire said ‘Ya did,’ strike one…” because he narrated an unfathomable enormity of baseball's most iconic moments and also was the reason I fell in love with the game. …"0-1 pitch is swung on, a drive hooking foul down the right-field line and a fine catch by a fan who brought his glove to the ballpark…” and his familiar, melodic voice helped sustain my indefatigable connection to the Dodgers, win or lose, spanning adolescence through adulthood and now, the next generations. … ”Clayton turns on the rubber, here’s the 0-2 pitch. Big, slooow curveball at the knees freezes him. Strike three called!” So I imagine Jackie and Gil and Duke and Pee Wee and Tommy, etc., will be pulling up chairs to spend part of the day with the ultimate Big Dodger in the Sky.

Steve Ross

Carmel-by-the-Sea

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I love the game of baseball, and I owe much of it to Vin Scully. He transcended the game, and he brought the game to life.

I remember walking through Dodger Stadium during games and hearing Vin’ Scully’s voice echoing throughout. Even though the game was being played on the field it simply wasn’t Dodger baseball unless Vin was calling it.

Aside from being the greatest sports broadcaster — not just baseball broadcaster — of all time, he was, perhaps, the classiest and most humble man that ever lived.

How fortunate were we.

Steve Kaye

Tucson

Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, with wife Sandra, waves to the fans.
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, with wife Sandra, waves to the fans on Sept. 25, 2016, his final game at Dodger Stadium. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

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My son and I went to S.F. for Vin’s last three games. On the last game we got there really early. Our seats were on the same level as the broadcast booths just 60 feet up the first-base line. Vin was going over stuff with his producer and when he finished I went over along with a few other Dodger fans. When he saw us he got up and waved and smiled that big charming smile. On my way back to our seats when I was right under where he was I shouted “We love you Vin” almost immediately I heard back “We Love you Too”.

We will dearly miss you, Mr. Scully!!

John Castor

Mt. Washington

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There are a great many of my generation who were blessed with the elegant presence of Vin Scully for the entire 58 years of his time behind the mic in Los Angeles. We literally grew up and grew old together. Though undoubtedly the Picasso of sportscasters, he enriched our lives in so many other ways. Today, we should “consider ourselves the luckiest “ baseball fans on “the face of the earth.” RIP, old friend.

Bud Chapman

Northridge

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My grandfather was born in 1917 and sadly we lost him in 2000, but Vin always reminded me of him — an old school gentleman, thoughtful with similar mannerisms and even looks. He was a great guy who loved baseball and rarely missed a Dodgers game. Bought all his gas at Unocal 76 so that he could trade in his receipts for tickets and take me to sit in the upper-deck seats at Dodger Stadium for free, even though he was a … don’t say it … Giants fan. I can think back to my childhood and all those nights at my grandparents’ house. Their living room dark with the shutters drawn, dimly lit with the warm glow of a side lamp and Vin’s voice sounding loud and clear over the tiny speaker. It was as much listening to a storyteller tell you a tale as it was the play-by-play of our beloved pastime. Rest in peace, Vin. Gone but never forgotten.

Nicholas Dunlap

Fullerton

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Vin Scully was a master storyteller who happened to find abundant material at the ballpark. He called the game so beautifully that my mother, who was not really a baseball fan, was thoroughly entertained. Vin taught us the value of living in the moment with words, stories and just the right pauses to allow the crowd chatter or roar to fully set the scene. He also conveyed his own genuine optimism and the worthiness of the human spirit in his description of Robinson’s tenacity, Koufax’s elegance, Aaron’s majesty, Mays’ leadership and the territorial dominance of Gibson and Drysdale. Whether an all-time great or a utility player, Vin Scully treated each player as an individual worthy of dignity and respect, never ridicule. He was so much more than the best baseball announcer ever, he was part of our lives and made us better like a beloved teacher. Peace be with you, Mr. Scully.

Rob Stockly

Sierra Madre

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The word “countless” is usually used to describe something that occurs often but is actually countable. But in looking back at Vin Scully’s most memorable moments, whether it be Kirk’s homer, Sandy’s perfect game, the ’55 title, I quickly realized that this adjective unquestionably applies here. And through these countless moments, he forged a collective treasure-filled memory that will live on for generations. We can never thank Vin enough.

Jin S. Choi

La Crescenta

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I was blessed. My father, who I never thanked enough, took me to many Dodgers games. A few at the Coliseum and many at the new Dodger Stadium. My expected Dodgers experience never failed me. Seating in our pavilion seats, eating a Dodger Dog that was actually grilled and my trusty little transistor radio at my ear to hear Vinny.

Those were my childhood memories and to this day still are. I made sure to attend Vin’s last game in 2016 with one of my best friends along with my aunt, a huge Dodger fan.

We all teared up hearing his recording of “Wind beneath my Wings.”

Rob Parra

Rowland Heights

Vin Scully is presented a Guinness World Records certificate for the longest career as a sports broadcaster for a single team
Vin Scully, joined by wife Sandra and sons Kevin and Todd is presented a Guinness World Records certificate for the longest career as a sports broadcaster for a single team. (Associated Press)

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Vin Scully letting the fans do the talking with their cheers spoke volumes about him. He may be the GOAT baseball announcer but he was even a greater human being.

Patrick Kelley

Los Angeles

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He's the reason I am Dodger fan. Rest in peace, Vinny.

Richard Dennison

Goleta

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About five years ago, I was in a local grocery store and after a few minutes I saw Vin Scully had just walked in. I said "Hi Vin," and he responded with, "Well, hello, how are you?" I thanked him for all the years of entertainment and he embarrassingly thanked me. He had just begun to ask a store employee for help as I was taking out my phone, asking if he'd mind taking a quick picture. He said he was just starting to work with the young lady, and I could see from his body language, it was just going to be bad timing. So, I went on my way. About 10 minutes later, I was at the other end of the store and didn't see him anymore, and figured he had left. Then he came around a corner, made eye contact with me, and said, "I can take that picture now if you'd like." Shortly thereafter, I was exiting the store as he was bringing his shopping cart back, so we walked back to our cars together, talking a bit about the Dodgers. I said, "You know, I really miss my transistor radio. There were many nights I'd get into bed in the seventh inning listening to you." He said, "Yes, well, I've put a lot of people to sleep over the years." Ever gracious. Ever self-effacing. Forever the poet laureate of baseball who always made us feel like we were 10 years old again.

Paul Feinsinger

Agoura Hills

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There is no joy in Mudville. Mighty Vinny has left us.

Ron Yukelson

San Luis Obispo

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Vin Scully was the soundtrack of my youth, and instilled in me my love for the game long before I was ever able to see it in person. Life will feel a bit more hollow with him gone.

Bill Waxman

Simi Valley

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I propose that the city of Los Angeles honor Vin Scully with a public holiday on his birthday, Nov. 29.

The theme of this holiday would be to remember Vinny by encouraging people on this day to treat all others with kindness, respect and dignity.

Mike Anderson

Sherman Oaks

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, players and coaches team pay tribute to broadcaster Vin Scully.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, players and coaches team pay tribute to broadcaster Vin Scully before the game at Dodger Stadium on August 5, 2022. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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It’s time for … a third statue at Dodger Stadium.

Marc Gerber

Encino

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I had the great good fortune and pleasure to visit, one on one, with Vin Scully, once at Dodgertown in Vero Beach and once in a medical building parking lot in Encino. He was exactly as expected, welcoming, warm, gracious. Over generations he brought great pleasure to millions who love baseball and loved to listen to him bring even greater life to it. He was a giant. How fortunate we are to have had him in our lives.

Skip Nevell

Los Angeles

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My fondest memories over the years of listening to Dodger games called by Vin Scully were the eloquent, amazing and spontaneous descriptions of events on the field and, equally important, hearing nothing but the roar of the stadium crowd over the radio after a great home run, Vin knowing when to step aside so the crowd could transport us listeners to a moment of pure Dodger joy. You gave me so many years of baseball joy Vin Scully. Rest in peace.

David F. Tilles

Los Angeles

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I am one of the fortunate ones who listened faithfully to Vinny on my trusty transistor radio while pretending to be asleep as a young teenager. A lifelong love affair with baseball was the result for which I've been amply rewarded over the years with the Dodgers as "my team" thanks to Vinny.

Ken Blake

Brea

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Vin Scully was the GOAT behind the mic. His genius was that he wasn't calling a game, he was telling a story. And talking just to me. He was part of my life for almost my entire life. As my mom faded away, one of the few things we could still enjoy together was listening to his broadcasts. Truly, he was part of our family. And I'm sure I'm just one of millions who feel so personally about him. I feel gut-punched.

Evan Puziss

Mar Vista

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“In comes Garvey, in comes Cey!” I can still hear it over the roar of the crowd as the Dodgers clear the bases. Part of the soundtrack of all my summers. "In comes Piazza, in comes Karros" — a new generation, the roar of the crowd and that same familiar voice. "In comes Seager, in comes Turner!"

Tonight, in our sadness, as one voice is silenced, if we listen closely, we can hear a distant, heavenly roar of the crowd as St. Peter proclaims, “In comes Scully!”

John Thompson

Mission Viejo

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.
President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 22, 2016. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

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On Sunday, March 1, 1992, I was in the process of flying home from Paris. I had a last-second flight change that sent me to one of the New York City airports before connecting to LAX. The plane ran late meaning we got into NYC later than expected. I was nervously looking up at the clock, seeing time tick away with the realization that I was going to miss my flight back home, when I spotted Vin Scully at the same baggage area as me. I figured we were booked on the same flight back to L.A., so I say to him in a frantic and nervous demeanor how they better hurry with our luggage or else we are going to miss our flight to LAX. He nonchalantly tells me our flight has been delayed two hours. Of course, he was right. Here I was 2,500 miles from Dodger Stadium yet Vin Scully's voice put me in the same relaxed mood and a better frame of mind as if he was at Chavez Ravine.

Erik Schuman

Fountain Valley

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One of my lasting memories of Vin Scully was not about baseball, but his annual storytelling of two American military conflicts.

Each Memorial Day he would recite passages from "On Flanders Fields," the site in Belgium where a lengthy battle took place during WWI and led to the "Remembrance Poppy." Similarly, on June 6 he would recount the epic D-Day landing on French soil in WWII that liberated the people of Europe from the German army.

The engagingly patriotic Scully helped remind his listeners of the many freedoms we enjoy today.

Roy Reel

Culver City

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I remember sitting in the car in my parents garage in the 1970’s listening to Vin on the radio when the power went out. And loving it.

Jeffrey Brown

Santa Barbara

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In heaven, they’re saying: “Look who’s coming up!”

Steve Horn

Glendale

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The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.

Email: sports@latimes.com

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.