I have a story coming up on legendary Hall of Fame Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who is retiring after 67 years of broadcasting. For the story, I talked with Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller, for 20 years a voice of the San Francisco Giants and a friend and fan of Vin Scully:
"When you think Dodgers, he's what you think of. Back in the '70s, they had some kind of vote and the fans could vote for the all-time favorite Dodger. And Koufax got a lot of votes and Drysdale got a lot of votes. But the guy who won was Vin Scully. He was the favorite Dodger of all time.
"Growing up in San Francisco as a Giants fan as a kid in the early '60s, the Giants were in a pennant race with the Dodgers most of those years. Baseball was mostly a radio game back then. I came to realize how good Vinny was. I could hear him driving a car. For me, he was the best I ever heard broadcast baseball. Now he's 88 years old, he's on television. To really appreciate how good he was and is, you have to go back to when he was on radio.
"He not only painted a vivid picture of the action, so you felt you could almost feel it as if you were there — and this is on radio — but he also always had a story that never intruded on the game, but was apropos to what just happened. That was the art that he brought to it.
"Vinny is concise; his pronunciation is exact. He has that musical, almost lyrical sound to his voice. But that's the way he talks, it truly is.
"For Vinny, the way he tells the story, when they got to L.A., they played in the old Coliseum. Mammoth place. So many of the fans were far away from the field. Transistor radios were sort of a new phenomenon at the time. People started bringing their transistors to listen to Vinny because they couldn't really see that well, because the seats were so far away at the Coliseum. But years later, when they were in Dodger Stadium, they were still bringing their radios. They still wanted to hear Vinny.
"I just think about the facility of the language and the exquisite sense of timing. Bob Costas and I, we used to joke that Vinny commanded such respect with the players that they would always refrain from hitting a double off the wall until Vinny finished his story. We mere mortals. Before we get to the punch line or the end of the story — BOOM — someone would drive in two runs, or the inning ends and we never get to the end of a story. Not with Vinny. They wait for Vinny."