The voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully, will begin the second half of the 2016 season following the All-Star break. In honor of Scully’s last season we countdown the top 10 broadcasting calls.
On Tuesday, Scully’s top 10 broadcasting calls: No. 10-6 were released. This is the second part of a two-part series featuring the iconic Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster’s best calls while on the airwaves. To pay tribute to Vin Scully’s 67 years as the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster, here are his top five calls of all-time.
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5. “If You Have A Sombrero, Throw It To The Sky!”
“Fernandomania” took Dodgers fans by storm in 1981, but it was June 29, 1990 when the baseball world stopped for one night.
Fernando Valenzuela came out of the Dodgers clubhouse knowing that there had already been one no-hitter thrown. His former teammate, Dave Stewart, tossed a no-no for the Oakland Atheltics in Toronto against the Blue Jays.
Coming into his start against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 29, 1990, Valenzuela had a record of 5-6 and an ERA of 3.73. In what would be his final season with the Boys in Blue, he decided to turn the clock back one more time and pitch a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on this night.
With the so-called “time travel” that took place, Vin Scully was able to address Dodgers Nation in top form with the call, “If you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky!” The words are immortal in Dodgers lore to this day and are a great sendoff for Valenzuela, who would go down as one of the most impactful players in franchise history.
4. “What A Marvelous Moment…”
Scully’s career was at a peak on the day of April 8, 1974, as the Dodgers were on the road in Atlanta taking on the Braves. There, Henry Aaron, a black man, broke a 39-year-old record held by one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
Facing the Dodgers’ Al Downing, Hank Aaron hit a home run over the fence at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium. The moment would be marked as Aaron’s 715th career home run, surpassing Yankees great Babe Ruth for one of the most coveted records in all of sports.
Despite the accolade, Scully focused the iconic moment on the lack of racial tension that had gripped most of the past decade in American history. “What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron….”
No broadcaster in their right mind would have thought of taking that stance during a broadcast, but that is what makes Scully so unique.
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3. “It Gets Through Buckner!”
Game 6 of the 1986 World Series had all the drama a baseball fan could ever want. Lead changes aplenty, action around the bases, and of course, errors.
The Boston Red Sox were at Shea Stadium in Queens to face the New York Mets, up three games to two in the Fall Classic, and winning 5-3 heading to the bottom of the 10th inning. The moments were ticking down when the 68-year “Curse of the Bambino” would be lifted from this suffering franchise, which hadn’t won a World Series since 1918.
The Mets had other ideas. After a bevy of miscues by the Red Sox, including a wild pitch by pitcher Calvin Schiraldi that scored the tying run from third, Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson came to the plate with a runner on second base and grounded a ball towards first.
Former Dodger Bill Buckner was patrolling the area at the time, battered and bruised from months of baseball action, his knees weak with every pitch thrown. Red Sox manager John McNamara usually took Buckner out in extra inning situations in favor of the healthier Dave Stapleton, but not in this case.
The end result of Wilson’s grounder was the ball going through the aching Buckner’s legs and the Mets coming back to win the game, 6-5, which also sparked another iconic Scully call, this one in his native New York, his voice growing excited with every lasting moment of one of the biggest blunders in Major League Baseball history.
2. “Sandy Into His Windup…”
Before Sandy Koufax destroyed the Minnesota Twins in the 1965 World Series, he pitched his way into history as he threw a perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965. With this memorable moment in Dodgers lore came iconic Scully in the broadcast booth as well.
The essence of Scully comes in clear in this call as he uses time as a weapon for his success. “It is now 9:46 p.m.,” Scully said as Koufax got to within one strike of finishing off the masterpiece on Cubs pinch hitter Harvey Kuenn. (Fun fact: Kuenn was also the last out of Koufax’s 1963 no-hitter agains the San Francisco Giants)
The game was not televised back then because there was no such thing as local television contracts, so Dodgers fans listened through their transistor radios as Scully painted the perfect picture in their minds to arguably one of the best pitched games in baseball history.
After the call was over, Scully lets the crowd tell the story and steps away from the microphone. This would foreshadow a Scully moment 23 years later that had a much different ring to it.
1. “High Fly Ball Into Right Field, She Is Gone!”
Was there any doubt this would be number one? This was a “Where Were You?” kind of moment in baseball history: Oct. 15, 1988 for Game 1 of the World Series between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
This broadcast call has all the accolades of the past nine calls rolled up into one. The doubt of Kirk Gibson stepping to the plate followed by the pure jubilation on what transpired thereafter is what makes this the No. 1 call on this list.
There is so much to the backstory of how this all transpired, from Gibson not even being introduced during the starting lineups due to his two bad knees to him limping out to the batter’s box with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against a pitcher on a 104-win team who had given up four home runs the entire season up to that point.
Scully, unbias as ever, called the game for NBC television alongside the late Joe Garagiola. When Gibson came to the plate with all the odds slated against him, Scully was able to touch on his physical state (“shaking his left leg, making a quiver, like a horse”).
This sets up just like No. 3 on the countdown, but instead of the aching man making headlines negatively, he overcame the underdog euphoria and shatters all the demons. Gibson’s home run not only provided the world with one of the best moments in baseball history, but with it one of the best sports calls in history.
Former A’s manager Tony La Russa, who would oversee Gibson’s managerial skills while he was the chief baseball officer with the Arizona Diamondbacks, said in July of 2014 that “Every time I see him, I have to overcome that memory.”
To take away from Vin Scully’s 67 years in the broadcast booth, the biggest moments he said he would miss when he walks away would be those from the roar of the crowd, and this call is symbolic in how Scully steps away and lets the moment breathe on television.
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