'Like having God Almighty doing play by play': Our readers remember Vin Scully

·8 min read
Vin Scully on screen at Dodger Stadium July 29, 2014 in Los Angeles.
Vin Scully touched the lives of Dodgers fans in many different ways. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

To so many people in Southern California, Vin Scully was a voice on a transistor radio tucked under a pillow or drifting through the air from seemingly every car or home on warm summer nights.

He also was so much more.

A poet.

A teacher.

A friend.

A class act.

The soundtrack to their lives.

Here is what some of our readers had to say about the legendary Dodgers broadcaster following his death Tuesday at age 94 (some responses have been edited for length and clarity):

To hear Vin's voice coming from every direction at Dodger Stadium, to a 5-year-old boy, was like having God Almighty doing play by play. I always tell fans of other baseball teams, that the reason Dodgers fans leave the games early was that we could listen to Vin on the way home.

Scott Wilson, Downey

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I became a baseball fan in 1981 when, as a 7-year-old boy, I discovered the magic of Vin Scully's Dodger broadcasts. On many a summer night I'd go to bed with a transistor radio next to my ear, just loud enough to transport me to Dodger Stadium. The buzz of the crowd, the crack of a bat, and the intricate details of that particular game, all woven together by Scully's narrative. He was a master storyteller. Baseball's poet laureate. The line between dream and reality became blurred as I'd drift off to sleep.

Jason Leong, Chino Hills

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Picture this: my Mexican American family, lounging in the living room in the midst of July listening to Vin Scully tell the tales of Dodgers past.

Vin Scully was my childhood, his voice filled the air every summer. He made a young girl a baseball fan. And when I turned 12 years old, I met him. I met the legend.

I was in the press box, play-by-playing an MLB game for the Jr. Dodger broadcasters. In the next booth over was Vin Scully. Around the seventh inning we got to visit Vin in the booth and say hi. The meeting was short — he gave us hugs and told us to "tell the viewer a story with your words," they couldn't see the game on the radio, paint it for them. So I did.

Eleven years later, I work in sports journalism because of Vin Scully. He inspired me to be like him, humble, smart, intelligent and a storyteller. Thank you, Vin.

Skyler Rivera, Rancho Cucamonga

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After my dad passed away, I found this handwritten letter from Vin Scully in his files. What a surprise! Who knows what my dad wrote to Vin to receive such a response. This must've been after the Dodgers won the World Series in 1981.

What I do know is that my dad and I loved watching Dodger games together. My dad would keep a transistor radio in his bathroom so he could keep listening to Vin while showering.

When they say Baseball Saved Us, that's partly true for my dad. He was a child incarcerated at Manzanar. Reading box scores and playing baseball kept him sane. Later in life, I think Vin Scully's voice was the music that soothed his soul, the soundtrack to his favorite sport and team.

I'm hearing Vin's voice on all these TV tributes now and I'm taken back to my own childhood and it makes me sad.

Gavin Tachibana, Torrance

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As a Red Sox fan, I've always envied Dodger fans. They got to listen to the greatest of all time every day. I was never happier than those few times that I got to hear Vin Scully call a Sox/Dodgers game.

For me, the most memorable Scully call is Game 6, 1986 World Series, probably the most painful sports call of my life. I know it by heart:

"Little roller up along first. Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!"

Devastating, yet because it was Vin, his voice makes it (almost) bearable.

I'll also never forget the next game, as it was ending in another loss, the camera showing the Red Sox dugout, Wade Boggs visibly sobbing, hearing Vin encouraging the Red Sox to keep their heads up and to be proud of what they accomplished. I’ll always be grateful for that. Class act all the way. Thanks, Vin!

John Morrison, Beaumont, Calif.

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I remember walking to the neighborhood store in South-Central L.A. as a child. My mom was in urgent need of something so she sent me the block and a half to get it for her. The Dodgers-Giants were on TV. It was so special because we only got to see them nine times a season in the early '60s. I remember begging my mom not to send me because I would miss the game.

With that all-knowing semi-smile moms the world over have, she said to me in Spanish no less, "Don't worry, you won't miss a play there and back, Mr. Scully's voice will be everywhere." She was right, his calls wafted through the summer evening like a troubadour's serenade reaching out for your mind and heart.

Alberto Franco, Whittier

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My mother was an avid Dodger fan. I still see her with her transistor radio, Vin Scully's voice more familiar in our house than even my own father's, since Vin spoke to us all day long and in the evening before my father came home from work.

At some point, she was able to meet Vin Scully, and of all remarkable things, she asked him to autograph her transistor radio. Of course, he graciously and humbly complied. Somewhere I lost track of that radio and I wish to this day I still had it. Vin Scully's voice will forever ring in my ears and speak of the freedom of summer days.

Kathleen Clary Miller, Fallbrook, Calif.

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From Vin I learned the history of the game, oh yes, and the rules and the subtleties. But I learned as well from him the history of the world, about show tunes and opera, about art and literature, about Toulouse-Lautrec and if it was good enough to call with a 2-and-1 count, it's good enough with a 3-and-1 count.

I learned about the sacrifices of D-day, and that when a batter pulls a ball foul down the line, a strikeout is sure to follow. I learned that Jackie learned to ice skate by racing, and that Gil Hodges belonged in the HOF, and also that there is a right way and a wrong way to live.

Paul Goodwin, Culver City

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While visiting my close friends in Northern California, we attended a Dodgers/Giants game at ATT Stadium (I felt like the only Dodger fan in attendance).

I was seated just below the Dodgers press box, and just before the game I stood up, turned and waved to Vin. He saw me and waved back. I then blew him a kiss, and he immediately returned the favor.

I have never been starstruck before that moment, and have not been since. But it is a memory I will never, ever forget.

LeAnn Wills, Stephenville, Texas

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I remember as a kid in the '60s when our car was at a red light we could hear Vin Scully's voice from the radios of other cars in addition to the one in our dashboard. Back then, most people did not have air conditioning and you drove with the windows down. His voice was everywhere.

Peter Sanders, Claremont

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My mother, a retired English teacher, lost her eyesight and was often ill later in her life, but she retained an active, intelligent mind. Mom's fondest pastime was to listen to Vin Scully presenting that evening's Dodger game.

"He paints a picture of the game," she would say. "When he describes the action, I can see it!" No doubt Vin got extra points from my mom when he would weave into his play-by-play a reference to a Dylan Thomas poem or compare, for example, David Wells to Shakespeare's Falstaff.

For me, Vin's broadcasts, and my mom's fondness for them, illustrated how a person, simply through dedication to a craft and a sense of service, might profoundly touch the lives of others.

John Sotos, Leesburg, Va.

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1982. Me and two of my USC buddies, Chris Wildermuth and Terry Marks, are driving from campus to Dodger Stadium on surface streets. We come to Sunset Boulevard and Chris cuts off a car, then exclaims, "Oh my God, I've just cut off Vin Scully." Terry and I waved at him to try and demonstrate we had not meant it. Scully literally gave us the sign of the cross like the pope and absolved us of our sins.

Steven Travers, San Anselmo, Calif.

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Many years ago, shortly after the tragic death of Vin's son, I saw him sitting in a barber shop in Brentwood with one of his grandchildren. I approached him and introduced myself, apologizing for the intrusion. He graciously said hello and I said, "When I was a kid I used to fall asleep listening to your broadcasts." He replied, "Joe, I put a lot of people to sleep with my broadcasts!" We both laughed.

Joe Hilberman, Westwood

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.