Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Scully Set to Say Goodbye to Legendary Career

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Scully Set to Say Goodbye to Legendary Career

Article excerpt

As an 8-year-old in the Bronx, Vin Scully would grab a pillow, put it under his family's four-legged radio and lay his head directly under the speaker to hear whatever college football game was on the air in 1936.

With a snack of saltine crackers and a glass of milk nearby, the red-haired boy was transfixed by the crowd's roar that raised goosebumps. He thought about how much he'd like to be at the game. As time went on, he thought he'd like to call the action himself.

His youthful aspirations came true at 22 when he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, D.C. The following year, he joined Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers' radio and television booths. In 1953, at age 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a mark that still stands.

Now 88, Scully is heading into his final weekend behind the mic and concludes his career on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, where the Dodgers end the regular season against the rival Giants. His 67 years with the Dodgers make Scully the longest-tenured broadcaster with a single team in professional sports.

"I will miss it," he said recently. "I know that dramatically."

Scully discovered his lifelong love of baseball walking home from grade school. He passed a Chinese laundromat and saw the score from Game 2 of the 1936 World Series: Yankees 18, Giants 4.

"My first reaction was, 'Poor Giants,'" he recalled, noting he lived near the team's home at the Polo Grounds and attended many games for free after school. "That's when I fell in love with baseball and became a true fan."

Fittingly, his last game will be 80 years to the day he saw that score in the window. That's a key reason he decided, well before it was known if the Dodgers wold go to the playoffs, to end his run on that date.

"It seems like the plan was laid out for me and all I had to do was follow the instructions," Scully said.

Has he ever.

Though the years, Scully has entranced generations of baseball fans with his dulcet tones as he spins stories about the game and its players while working alone on the air. He still relishes the crowd's cheers, a sound he says is "like water out of a showerhead."

Big break

Scully credits the birth of the transistor radio as "the greatest single break" of his career. In 1958, he accompanied the Dodgers when the franchise relocated to Los Angeles. Fans had trouble recognizing the lesser players during the team's first four years in the vast Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"They were 70 or so odd rows away from the action," he said. "They brought the radio to find out about all the other players and to see what they were trying to see down on the field."

That habit carried over when the team moved to Dodger Stadium. Fans at the games held radios to their ears and those not present listened from home or the car, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words. …

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