The Voices of the Dodgers Sound Off on the Team’s History

Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrín reflect on the team’s early days

The two legendary voices look back at the history of the Boys in Blue.

Vin Scully Recalls the Move West:

“When the Dodgers left Brooklyn and arrived in Los Angeles, the team really didn’t have a character of any kind. They came out here and finished seventh in an eight-team league. They were playing in a football/track stadium, not a baseball park. And an awful lot of people were not from Los Angeles. They were from all over the country. So it was indeed a big, empty place to fill.

The big thing was 1959. Out of nowhere, they not only win the pennant, they win the World Series. That was the major step where the Dodgers all of a sudden became part, and eventually the heart and soul, of the Southern California community.

Walter O’Malley knew exactly the stadium he wanted. During spring training in the early ’50s, the Dodgers didn’t really have any kind of stadium in Vero Beach. What they did was an experiment. They dug a hole in the ground. And the stands were along the sides of the hole. That was the beginning of the idea, the germ of the idea of Dodger Stadium. To build in L.A., the first thing they had to do was move a huge amount of dirt. Those earthmovers were spectacular. Big, heavy pieces of equipment, sliding along the inside of the saucer. It took your breath away how they could somehow manage the equipment without sliding and turning over and rolling down the sides. That was the fulfillment of the experiment in Florida: Dig a hole, and use the sides of the hole.

Walter O’Malley was a man who loved the earth. He loved to dig in the ground and plant flowers. He grew orchids. So he wanted to make sure that you could look out and see the mountains. And all over Dodger Stadium there was greenery. By opening day, it was incredible— the Taj Mahal of baseball. And typical of the Dodgers, with all of the fans there, they lost to the Reds. But from then on, they were off and running.”

Jaime Jarrín on Becoming a Commentator:

“I come from Ecuador, and in Quito, where I lived, they don’t play baseball. I never saw a baseball, I never saw a bat before I come to this country in 1955.

In 1958 the radio station where I was news director, KWKW, decided to broadcast Dodger games in Spanish. They asked me to be one of the announcers. I told them, ‘I don’t think I am ready to be in front of a microphone to describe the action.’ I was only 23, and the station manager, he said, ‘Jaime, I know you can do this. It’s a great future for you.’

That year I was going to every game at the Coliseum, listening to every broadcast, reading books and every magazine about baseball. In ’59 I was ready. We didn’t start traveling with the team until 1965 or ’66. René Cárdenas, who was the number one announcer, and myself, we would go to a studio. There was no TV. We had to listen to Vin and Jerry Doggett describe the game, and we would be practically translating what they were saying. We have a tape going with background noise. We had cartridges to play for a single. A double. A triple. Or a home run. But we never claimed that we were at the ballpark, never tried to fool the people. No, no, no.”

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