June 6, 2016
Vin Scully and the Phillies
Do you realize how many times Vin Scully’s career as a broadcaster has had SIGNIFICANT intersection with the Philadelphia Phillies? It’s astonishing! Look at these two articles, as a foundation:
Vin Scully on life and lessons from his rookie year with the 1950 Dodgers
By David Halberstam
Posted: Monday July 20, 2015
Despite boasting seven All-Stars in catcher Roy Campanella, first baseman Gil Hodges, second baseman Jackie Robinson, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, centerfielder Duke Snider and pitchers Don Newcombe and Preacher Roe, the Dodgers were in fourth place as late as mid-August before ripping off a 10-game winning streak that carried Brooklyn into second, four games behind the Phillies, a young team known as the Whiz Kids. The Dodgers fell back to nine games behind entering play on Sept. 19 but then went 12-3 to climb within two games of Philadelphia, which came to Ebbets Field for the last two games of the season.
Brooklyn won the first game 7-3 and needed only to beat the Philies and their ace Robin Roberts in the season finale on Sunday, Oct. 1 to force a three-game playoff for the pennant.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Dodgers were trailing 1-0 when Reese smacked the ball to deep rightfield. “Resse’s shot bounced on the five inches of the concrete at the base of the screen and just stayed up there,” says Scully, who remembers the game perfectly. “It was the most miraculous home run. The ball sat there at the base of the screen. It was the most unbelievable home run I ever saw. You could see the rightfielder, Del Ennis, plead for it to come down. There was nowhere for it to go. It just stayed there between the edge of the concrete and the base of the screen. There were only five inches up there, if that.”
In the bottom of the ninth with the game tied 1-1, Brooklyn squandered a couple of tasty chances to score the winning run. With first and second and no one out, Snider lined a single to center. Cal Abrams was on second and raced for home. “Instead of hitting the inside of the bag at third, Abrams, a New York kid, rounded third by the way of the coach’s box and he failed to score,” says Scully. “Centerfielder Richie Ashburn threw him out at the plate. Later in the inning, the Dodgers had the bases loaded with one out and Carl Furillo fouled out.”
In the top of the 10th Dick Sisler hit a three run homer for Philadelphia, giving the Phillies a 4-1 win and the pennant.
The postmortem is etched in Scully’s memory:..
April 18, 1950: Vin Scully’s First Game
Posted By: Andy Saunders March 13, 2016
When Vincent Edward Scully, the ageless wonder of the baseball broadcasting business, first began describing MLB games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950—yes, the Dodgers were in Brooklyn at the time and no one for a moment thought they would ever move—Connie Mack was still managing the Philadelphia Athletics; a western road trip meant a team was heading by train to Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland or St. Louis; the most southern locale in MLB was Washington, D.C.; the Braves were located in Boston—heck, Vin Scully called the last Boston Braves’ game!,—rock-and-roll music was unknown, television was a novelty item that only the well-to-do owned, the Korean War was two months away from starting, and MLB was still getting used to the idea of racial integration. In 2016 Scully will begin his 67th and final year of broadcasting with the Dodgers. With the exception of Connie Mack, no single individual has served MLB so well for so long….
Scully’s regular-season MLB broadcasting debut occurred on Tuesday, April 18, 1950. The Dodgers lost that game, 9-1, to the Philadelphia Phillies at Shibe Park. It was not much of a game, although the teams’ rosters were replete with future Hall of Famers. Pee Wee Reese, Richie Ashburn, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe all saw action that day. The Phillies leapt out to an 8-0 lead by the home half of the fourth inning and were never really threatened. The Dodgers were the defending NL champions, but were no match on this Opening Day for a team that would go on to win its first pennant in 35 years. There were more than 29,000 fans in attendance, but had they known the game’s historical significance, many may have opted to stay at home and listen to the 22-year-old dulcet-voiced young man in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ radio booth instead of buying a ticket. Scully was the third announcer that day, doing occasional commentary behind Red Barber and Connie Desmond.
Scully constantly transfixes listeners with his smooth delivery and flawless segues and transitions. He ably fills lulls effortlessly with information about players and all other factoids related to baseball. One could be forgiven for at times thinking that Scully is reading from a script. Case in point: Scully’s call of the final inning of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965 was so utterly perfect that it was included verbatim in a compilation of great baseball writing! Biographer Curt Smith unabashedly compares Scully’s calling a baseball game to Jascha Heifetz playing the violin. In 1976 Scully was voted by the fans as the greatest Dodger in the team’s history, accruing more votes than any player, several of whom had been elected to the Hall of Fame. Scully himself was honored by the Hall of Fame in 1982 as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for outstanding contributions to baseball as a broadcaster. Consider this: At the time Scully was given the Frick Award—basically understood to be a lifetime achievement trophy—his broadcasting career at the MLB level had not even reached the halfway point!
Wow! Count ‘em up!
- His very first game that he broadcast (mentioned above) was a Dodgers – Phillies game (Phillies won, 9 – 1, behind the magnificent pitching of Robin Roberts);
- His very first game – April 18, 1950 – was IN Philadelphia…, at Shibe Park;
- He was there and broadcast the 1950 Whiz Kids victory over the Dodgers, 4 – 1, to win the 1950 pennant (see his description above);
- He called Sandy Koufax’s no-hitter against the Phillies on June 4, 1964 at Connie Mack Stadium (Shibe Park) in Philadelphia (his third in three years);
- He called Sandy Koufax’s last regular season victory, over the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium in 1966;
- He called Don Drysdale’s 58.2 scoreless innings streak in 1968 which was broken up by the Philadelphia Phillies when Howie Bedell’s sacrifice fly scored Tony Taylor;
- He called the game where “Luzinski dropped that fly ball” – a moment voted the worst in Phillies history, as the Dodgers stunned the Phillies in Game Three of the 1977 NLCS on October 8, 1977;
- He called Dusty Baker’s “Homer in the Stormin’” in a monsoon off of Steve Carlton that led to the Dodgers’ victory over the Phillies in Game Four of the 1977 NLCS;
- He called the “Secretary of Defense” Disaster: Garry Maddox, making not one, but TWO errors in the final game of the 1978 NLCS to seal the Phillies’ doom – again – to give the Dodgers’ the victory;
- He did something Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn were not permitted to do: he called – on the radio – the Phillies’ 1980 World Series victory, their first in 97 years;
- He called Joe Carter’s home run in 1993 for the Blue Jays that beat the Phillies in the World Series;
Way to go, Vin! May the Lord bless you this year as you finish out your magnificent career!
From a die-hard Phillies fan