The last time Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully left his broadcasting chair, the U.S was engaged in a confrontation with the Soviet Union known as “The Cold War”. Since 1950, Scully has been around for some of the greatest single moments in sports history.
To pay homage to Scully’s 67th and final year in the broadcast booth, here is part one of a two-part series featuring the Hall of Famer’s best broadcasting moments.
10. “That is Fertilizer.”
It’s easy to say that Vin Scully has one of the most recognizable voices on the broadcasting airwaves, but with that genuine, silky-smooth repertoire comes a bit of humor, as demonstrated during this Dodgers-Padres brawl at Petco Park in 2013.
Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin charged the mound after being plunked in the shoulder by a Zack Greinke 89 mph fastball, and the melee was on. Scully carefully picks out aggressors of the fight and has a little fun with the commentary thereafter, highlighted by Matt Kemp’s frustration. Kemp appears to yell an expletive repeatedly, which Scully coins as “Fertilizer”.
Scully hasn’t had a color commentator in the broadcast booth for years, so it is his objective to get his messages across to fans without allowing any long pauses, and he successfully does that in this call.
9. “It’s A Madhouse At Candlestick!”
Did you know Vin Scully was a play-by-play broadcaster for NFL games on CBS? It just so happens that Scully, a baseball aficionado, was part of one of the greatest postseason moments in NFL history during the 1982 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco.
The San Francisco 49ers had won two games in the past nine matchups with the Dallas Cowboys and were looking to start a winning streak for the first time in this prestigious rivalry. Surely enough, a last-minute touchdown pass from 49ers quarterback Joe Montana to wide receiver Dwight Clark was the defining moment that sent San Francisco to its first Super Bowl in franchise history in a 28-27 victory. The play would be called “The Catch” and Scully was able to call it from the broadcast booth at Candlestick Park.
8. “Today, How Do You Feel?”
The 1965 World Series will forever be known as the time Sandy Koufax dominated the baseball scene.
After choosing to not pitch Game 1 of the World Series against the Minnesota Twins due to the holy Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur, Koufax returned and pitched Games 2, 5, and 7. In those starts, Koufax went 2-1 with a 0.38 ERA while striking out 29 Minnesota Twins. The two wins were complete game shutouts and the Dodgers would be world champions for the fourth time in a decade.
After calling the game on NBC, Scully rushed down to the clubhouse and stood atop a trunk that happened to be in the middle of the room so that the cameraman could see him when he would interview the winners. The first person he interviewed was Sandy Koufax.
Scully asks Koufax how he feels after throwing back-to-back complete game shutouts, citing a quote he had after Game 5 (Koufax said he felt like he was 100 years old because of the wear and tear on his pitching arm).
Scully to Koufax: “You were quoted as saying after the game, ‘I feel 100 years old.’ So today, how do you feel?”
Koufax to Scully: “A hundred and one.”
Scully always made people feel comfortable whenever he was interviewing them, and this particular chat is the golden standard to Scully’s charm on the air.
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7. “And Thank Goodness They Saw It In Japan.”
Vin Scully is the master of capturing history in the moment, and that is exactly what happened on Sept. 17, 1996 as Hideo Nomo tossed a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies.
The significance of this broadcasting call has to do with the baseball in Colorado, which gives batters an awesome opportunity to rack up hits because of the altitude and air quality. But Nomo, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year, defied the odds and gave up no hits to a team that had hit 212 home runs to that point.
Scully sets the scene by describing the moment and then turning the attention to Nomo’s native Japan, where the time difference was 15 hours from that of Denver.
Cool as a cucumber, Scully highlights the no-hitter, the countryman’s people, and wraps up the broadcast by saying that the Dodgers are one and a half games in front of San Diego for the division lead. To this day, only one no-hitter has been thrown at Coors Field, and it was done by Hideo Nomo on Sept. 17, 1996 in front of over 50,000 people, including the legendary Vin Scully.
6. “Bo Jackson Says Hello!”
Who wouldn’t want to tune into a broadcast where Vin Scully is interviewing “the Gipper”? On July 11, 1989, Vin Scully had former President Ronald Reagan in his natural habitat while the two enjoyed the 1989 All-Star Game at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
Bo Jackson, who led off the game, was taking the sports world by storm in 1989 because he was the first active two-sport athlete. Playing both professional baseball in the summertime and football in the wintertime was an accomplishment no athlete had done before, and Scully asked Reagan about that because the President had played football many years before.
Sure enough, as Reagan tries to deliver his point on the air, Jackson rocks a Rick Reuschel sinker to the deepest part of the ballpark. The play took the stadium by storm, and Scully was taken aback with the call.
To Reagan’s amazement along with the crowd noise in the background, Scully improvises and says, “He’s remarkable! And look at that one: Bo Jackson says hello!” This call would be synonymous with the career of Bo Jackson and would lift this athlete to even greater heights. And it was all thanks to a guy from The Bronx chatting it up with the former President in the broadcast booth.
Do you agree with the rankings so far? What are you most looking forward to as the countdown continues? Tweet us @DodgersNation and don’t be left out of the conversation!
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