A guide to baseball history
JEFFREY BROWN: That level of intimacy grown into a sense of reverence comes through clearly at the ballpark. Through the years, Scully has brought Dodgers' fans and in nationally televised games the rest of us some of the sport's greatest moments.
VIN SCULLY: Yankee Stadium shivering in its concrete foundation right now.
JEFFREY BROWN: He called the only perfect game pitched in a World Series: Don Larsen's gem for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.
VIN SCULLY: Got him! The greatest game ever pitched by Don Larsen.
JEFFREY BROWN: Nine years later, Scully was there for Sandy Koufax's perfect game.
VIN SCULLY: Sandy into his wind-up. Here's the pitch. Swung on and missed, a perfect game!
High fly ball into right field, she is gone! In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.
JEFFREY BROWN: And then there was the famous 1988 World Series walk-off home run by a hobbled Kurt Gibson. That crowd noise and the silence from the broadcast booth is another Scully trademark.
VIN SCULLY: When I was very small, maybe 8 years old, we had a big radio that stood on four legs, and it had a cross piece underneath it, and I used to take a pillow and crawl under the radio. And I would listen to a game that meant nothing to a kid growing up in New York. I mean, it might be Tennessee-Alabama. But when someone scored a touchdown and the crowd roared, that crowd noise would come out of the speaker like water out of a shower head, and it would just cover me with goose bumps.
And I used to think, "Oh, I'd like to be there to feel that roar of the crowd." And it's never left me to this day, so that when something happens, I love it to shut up and hear the crowd.
Three-two, Wolf goes...
JEFFREY BROWN: The big moments are one thing, but baseball more than other sports is about the small details and, of course, the stories that fill in the gaps of a long afternoon or night game.
VIN SCULLY: Well, Riley is the fellow who worked for the Metropolitan Opera House, not singing, as a stagehand from midnight until dawn, tear down the previous night's opera, and put up the scenery for the next night.
You have to just talk about each player individually. If I can get a story about a player, I would give you a ship load of numbers, batting averages and all just for that one precious story. That's the kind of thing that I love to do.
JEFFREY BROWN: Joe Torre, now the Dodgers' manager, enjoyed Scully's stories as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, but not so much when he came to Los Angeles as a visiting player in the days when fans would bring their transistors to the ballpark and the sound of Scully was everywhere.
JOE TORRE, manager, Los Angeles Dodgers: Jeff, as a player, I used to stand in that batter's box in the '60s and probably early '70s, and it was eerie, because you could hear Vin Scully's voice.
JEFFREY BROWN: You mean, people listening to him in the stands?
JOE TORRE: On the transistor radio. I'd be in there trying to concentrate on hitting Koufax or Drysdale, which was no easy task, and I could be hearing Vin's voice in my ear, and it was pretty unusual.
VIN SCULLY: And a towering drive. Wow, Manny just turns to see where it's going.
JEFFREY BROWN: By this point, Vin Scully has received every accolade there is. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame way back in 1982, so what more is there?
There were some stories about the possibility of retirement. Have you made any decision? Or how will you know when it's time?
VIN SCULLY: I've told several writers this, and, again, I get back to it, but if you want to make God smile, tell him your plans. And I've always been very, very respectful of that sentence. All I know is, I'm working this year, and God willing, I plan to work next year. Somewhere over that year, my next step will come about. And that's about as all I can determine right now.
JEFFREY BROWN: But you're still enjoying what you're doing?
VIN SCULLY: I love it. And you know how I know I love it? Because when there's a great play on the field and the crowd roars, I still get goose bumps. I'm just like that little kid under the radio.
Bases loaded, sixth inning, one out. And a drive to left field, down the line. It is gone, a grand slam home run!