Famous actors and esteemed astronauts— even politicians—admit to being tongue-tied in his presence. Vin Scully, the Dodgers’ mellifluous-voiced announcer, remains a hero in a city that’s hard on its stars. During a span of 67 years, the native New Yorker has been the sound of comfort and joy through assassinations and wars, natural disasters and personal losses. For that, millions of Angelenos are forever grateful.
The eternal redhead has made history with his eloquent narration: the final inning of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in ’74, and Kirk Gibson’s “the impossible has happened” homer of the ’88 World Series. Throughout, Scully has maintained an aura of impartiality—a true fan of the game—even as he’s developed friendships with players going as far back as the ’50s. To this day he regales listeners with stories about sitting in the then Brooklyn Dodgers bus with Dick Williams, an unassuming outfielder destined to become a Hall of Fame manager; racing (and defeating) Jackie Robinson on ice skates after Robinson—who had never laced up in his life— challenged him to the face-off; and the first time he saw Koufax in action, when he concluded that the pitcher wouldn’t make it in the big leagues because he looked like “he spent all his time on the beach.”
At 88, as teams travel by jets and information zips along digital streams, Scully continues to entertain fans with observations that recall porch swings and lemonade stands. During a Dodgers-Padres contest in late April, he noted the facial hair of opposing players and proceeded to deliver a history of beards. Earlier this season, in the fifth inning of a matchup against the Diamondbacks, he artfully weighed in on why the number 13 isn’t the least bit unlucky.
Vin Scully first came to us by transistor radio, when the aroma of mown lawns signaled the advent of spring. He leaves us nearly seven decades later in the dog days of autumn, as desert winds kick up the dust and rattle the leaves of the trees. To mark his retirement this year, we spoke to dozens of Dodger faithful, all of whom agreed that we’ve been blessed to have Vin Scully, the likes of which will never be heard again.
Third baseman for the Dodgers
He’s a redhead like me, so there’s a little bit of a connection there. He started talking to me about how every Christmas, I help my dad hang up Christmas lights. I was just blown away, like “How did he even know that?” The information, the stories, his memory: how vivid it is and how detailed it is—it’s just incredible. The way he paints a picture of the game to everyone listening, whether you’re watching on TV or you’re listening on the radio, you have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on. There’s a reason why he’s the greatest ever, and he always will be. I don’t think anyone else will come close.
Sportswriter and author of The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse
I remember going to a Dodger game in San Diego when I was seven or eight. I was down on the bottom level of the crowd, and I remember looking up and waving at Vin Scully and his waving back, and that just being the highlight of my life. Later, to work in the same booth with him and get a chance to meet him was totally surreal. He’s the biggest, coolest celebrity I’ve ever met. I’ve interviewed Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James, and other famous people, but the person who’s a celebrity to you when you’re a kid is always going to be a big deal. He’s exactly how you would imagine him, the same person he is on the air. You can usually hear him before you see him. He’s greeting everybody by name—all the security guards and ushers in the press box—or he’s humming an old-timey show tune. He has probably held more doors for me than any person who’s not in my family or my boyfriend. He’s a true gentleman.
28-year-old broadcaster in his first year as a play-by-play announcer for Dodger road games
In regard to being “somebody to follow him,” I think that’s the only way you can put it. Phrasing it as “replacing” him—nobody is ever going to do that. Nobody that’s currently doing the job or yet to come is ever going to truly replace him.
Creator of The X-Files
Everything points to my mother in how I named the characters for The X- Files. Mulder is my mother’s maiden name. And because my mother was such a die-hard Dodger fan, I had to name Mulder’s opposite as Scully. When I met Vin, he thanked me and said he was honored. But what was most important to him was that late in the show, we had added a character named Doggett. He thanked me for naming this character after his longtime cohost.
Retired four-star general in the U.S. Air Force and a NASA astronaut for 11 years
On my second space shuttle flight, my sister and my cousin, who are both Dodger fans, happened to look across the crowd at the launch, and my sister said, “I think that’s Peter O’Malley over there.” So they went over and introduced themselves. My sister said, “I want you to know, Mr. O’Malley, that my brother is a huge Dodger fan, and he’s sitting on top of that rocket over there three miles away.”
After coming back from space, I’m in Houston going through my mail, and there’s a letter from Dodger Stadium. It’s a handwritten note from Peter O’Malley saying how thrilled he was to watch the launch. He said, “We’d love to host you at Dodger Stadium.” So I brought my father and my wife out to the Dodgers’ park. Peter walked us down to meet Vin. That was a pretty special moment. I could tell in the short amount of time I spent with him that he was a gentleman. You have people you admire professionally in your life, and you hope they are nice people in real life. When you have the opportunity to meet them and find out that they are, that’s huge.
I met Vin two years ago. My wife arranged it: It was our 25-year anniversary, and it was a present for me. I was nervous. All those years of wanting to meet him, and then you get a chance and you start panicking, like “Oh, my God, what am I going to say? Should I not say anything? I’ll just let him talk.” And he was just as gracious as I hoped he would be.
Vin dips way back to when many of us were children—little boys and girls listening to this man’s voice, and it’s telling us, in essence, all is going to be OK. Imagine that you’re smelling the cut grass, it’s a beautiful spring day, the sun is shining, and Dodger baseball is on the air. Vin will take care of everything. Whenever there was a problem in the family or upheaval, his voice was always an escape for me, and a consistently secure one.
Actor and creator of Touch, a sports clothing line for women
The Kirk Gibson home run—that was the game that got me completely hooked on baseball. Even though baseball had always played a big part in my childhood, that was the game where I was “Oh, I can never live without this sport. I’m now obsessed.” A lot of that was due to the Vin Scully call. It’s funny because when people ask, “Who’s your favorite Dodger?” I say, “Vin Scully.” They go, “Yeah, that makes sense.” You can’t separate them. When you think of the Dodgers, you think of Koufax, you think of Jackie Robinson, and you think of Vin Scully. Period.
Vin Scully is probably the only person I’ve ever been starstruck over. He is so profoundly important to my life, my childhood, this city, and this community that I grew up in. I met him once in an elevator at Dodger Stadium. I was with my brother, and his hands started shaking, and we were both totally fangirled out. It taught me a good lesson. I am fortunate to have a lot of fans who have been with me for a long time, and I realized how important those moments can be for people.
1988 National League Cy Young Award winner and 1988 World Series MVP with the Dodgers; color commentator for Dodger road games on SportsNet LA
Sometimes when I was pitching at home, I would get in the stretch and I could hear Vin talking about me. I would step off the mound and think, “Oh, my gosh, there are so many radios that I can hear him.” It was a little bit weird. When I’d become a commentator and the new Time Warner deal started, there was discussion about what we would wear. I said, “We’re wearing a coat and tie because, until Vinny retires, he has raised the bar about what a Dodger broadcaster is supposed to look like. After Vinny retires, then we have a choice.” So the only time we wear polo shirts is during spring training because it’s so hot, but other than that we put the coat and tie on. I was asked by the Dodger organization to go to the stadium and reminisce about Vinny on camera. I couldn’t talk for 30 seconds because I was about to cry. “You’re asking me to talk about the guy who narrated my career, the guy who’s like a grandfather and mentor?” It’s even hard talking about it now.
Los Angeles City Council member who proposed changing the name of Elysian Park Avenue to Vin Scully Avenue
Let me tell you, I was so nervous before the street-renaming ceremony. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve met presidents. I was a state senator for eight years. I’ve met diplomats and dignitaries throughout the world, the wealthiest men in the world, and I got most nervous with Vin Scully. I’m worried I’m not going to sleep, I’m going to have insomnia. So I started doing research, and I looked at all his quotes, where he talked about baseball being a bridge to history, a bridge that unites communities. I took that quote and I thought, “That’s a great statement, but it’s also a statement about Vin Scully. He’s been a bridge to history and a bridge to this community.”
All my colleagues were at the ceremony. I remember Paul Krekorian—here’s this Armenian representative from the Valley, and he got up and said basically the same thing that I did about Vin being a bridge. Then there was Paul Koretz, a Jewish guy from the Westside, and Joe Buscaino, an Italian guy from San Pedro. Every one of us had the same thought, and that’s what Vin does: It is all about him uniting various communities.
20-year navy veteran
I was overseas in ’85, and I would catch games whenever they came on the Armed Forces Radio, which wasn’t often. Probably once a month I’d get to hear Vinny calling a baseball game. That was a big thrill. My last overseas Vin Scully memory was when I was in Singapore in ’98. The game was going to be on Armed Forces television, and I remember thinking, “Man, this is so cool. I’m watching the Dodgers game overseas, and it’s Vinny calling the game.” It was like being back at home. He can be half a world away but for those three hours you’re there. It was comforting.
Nancy Bea Hefley
Organist for the Dodgers from 1988 to 2015
I love show tunes, and Vin likes show tunes. He might say on the air, “You know, I wonder if Nancy Bea happens to know such and such,” a song from some play. He knew all the details of the show, and I barely knew a few of the lines from the songs. I’d kind of hum it in my head and think, “Well, I can do it.” So my first time playing some of the music was in front of 50,000 people, trying it out on them. To even have my name mentioned in the same category as Vin Scully is just mind-blowing. People would come up to me and say, “It’s you and Vin Scully that I come to the games for.” I’d think, “Wow, what a neighborhood to be in.”