Finn Scully died on Tuesday. He was 94 years old.
The Los Angeles Dodgers family confirmed Scully’s death via official social media.
“He was the voice of the Dodgers, and so much more,” the organization wrote. “Their conscience, their award-winning poet, has captivated their beauty and chronicled their glory from Jackie Robinson to Sandy Kovacs, Kirk Gibson to Clayton Kershaw. Finn Scully was the heartbeat of the Dodgers—and in many ways, he was the beating heart of all of Los Angeles.”
– Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) August 3, 2022
For years also a national broadcaster for NBC baseball, football and golf for CBS, and baseball for CBS Radio, Scully loved himself to fans during 67 seasons with the Dodgers, a record for one broadcaster with one team in any sport. In 2010, the American Sportscasters Assn. Scully has been called the greatest sports broadcaster of all time.
Born in New York, Vincent Edward Scully joined the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 22 as the No. 3 announcer to start the 1950 season, eight years before the team moved west to Los Angeles. He was coached by Red Barber, the preeminent baseball voice of his day, who was so impressed that Scully made a solo radio call to a University of Maryland and Boston football game in 1949 from the outdoor press box in Fenway Park in the cold of November without complaint.
For Scully, it was a dream come true.
He once said, “When I was eight, I wrote a piece of music for the nuns saying I wanted to be a sports broadcaster.” “That means nothing today – everyone watches TV and radio – but in those days, in New York, the only thing we really had was college football on Saturday afternoons on the radio. The boys in grammar school wanted to be cops and firefighters. And the girls wanted to be ballerinas and nurses, here’s this kid saying, “I want to be a sports announcer. I mean it was really out of the blue.”
Scully’s status rose rapidly in the New York market who not only had Barber with the Dodgers but Mel Allen with the Yankees and Ross Hodges and former Dodger announcer Ernie Harwell with the New York Giants. At the age of twenty-five in 1953, Scully became the youngest to ever broadcast a world series, a record he still holds.
Barber left that fall to join Allen with the Yankees. So Scully was the first voice for the Dodgers when “The Boys of Summer” finally won their first world championship in 1955. Scully was also on the microphone at the end of the national broadcast of Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect match for the Yankees against Brooklyn.
When the Dodgers were uprooted from Ebbets Field after the 1957 season, the New York native and Fordham U player came with them. The Dodgers were a seventh-placed team in their first season in Los Angeles, but Scully was immediately credited with helping connect the franchise to his new city. With the growing popularity of transistor radios, many fans attending the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would listen to Scully and teammate Jerry Doggett during the games, and he was highlighted one day in 1960 when Scully persuaded the audience to call out “Happy Birthday” at Consistency with the ruling. .
The Dodgers stunned baseball by returning to win the 1959 World Championship in only their second season in Southern California, ushering in an era that may have been the Dodgers’ and Scully’s heyday, with baseman Maury Wells and shareholder Sandy Kovacs and Don Drysdale elevating Los Angeles to the world championship titles in 1963 and 1965. Scully’s call for the fourth non-hit Koufax, a perfect game on September 9, 1965, remains a marvel today.
“It’s 9:46 p.m. Two and two to Harvey Quinn, one stroke away. Sandy is on his final leg, here’s the pitch…swing and miss, perfect match!” Scully shouted before pausing for 39 seconds to let the Dodger Stadium cheers take over. .
On the scoreboard on the right field at 9:46 p.m. in City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. A crowd of 29,139 are seated to see the only bowler in baseball history to shoot four games without an injury or a run. He’s done it four years in a row, and now Crowning it: In his fourth game, he made it a perfect game. And Sandy Kovacs, whose name will always remind you of hits, did it quickly. He hit the last six straight hits. So when he wrote his name in all capital letters in the record books, that “K” stood out the most. from OUFAX”.
Scully taught him to read and write excessively, incorporating quotes from great works into play by play (while also becoming known for his refusal to root on air for the team that hired him). His mix of improvised rhetoric and sense of drama became his signature over the following years. After the 1974 record number held by Hank Aaron was called up for a national television broadcast, Scully said nothing for about two minutes before commenting.
“What a great baseball moment,” said Scully. “What a great moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a wonderful moment for the country and the world. A black man gets a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking the all-time baseball idol record. And it’s a great moment for all of us and especially for Hank Aaron.”
Scully’s longevity was such that he had been broadcasting for more than three decades after he was voted into the radio wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
His flair wasn’t limited to baseball: his calling from 1982 NFC Championship Game winner Dwight Clark was also considered an all-time classic. Scully has often found himself in the entertainment world, whether as the host of the game show “It Takes Two” from 1969 to 1970 or as the stage host on Kevin Costner starrer “For Love of the Game.”
But perhaps most important of all, Scully will be remembered for his words when Kirk Gibson unexpectedly reached the plate in Game One of the 1988 Dodgers’ Underdog World Championships and did a full count against the game’s prominent underdog, Dennis. Eckersley.
“Height of the ball in the right field. It’s gone!” Scully called before seeing a rickety Gibson wandering around the bases. “In a year that was so improbable, the impossible happened.”
Scully endures a personal tragedy twice. His first wife, Joan, died at the age of 35 in 1972. His son Michael died at the age of 33 in a helicopter crash in 1994. Scully rarely spoke about his personal life and praised others for doing the same; He conspicuously avoided the idea of writing a memoir about his career.
In his 80s, Scully did each of the more than 100 games a year on uninterrupted television. (Marathons were nothing new for Scully, who on June 3, 1989 called for a 10-stroke match in Chicago for NBC and then a 22-stroke Dodger game in Houston that night.)
He eventually reduced his workload by confining himself during the regular season to the Western Colorado games. However, he couldn’t push himself to leave the profession he had always valued until 2016 when he was 88 years old.
After announcing his last match, he gave a farewell message in which he said “You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart that I’ve always needed you more than you’ve needed me, and I’ll miss our time together more than I can say. But did you know?” There will be a new day and eventually a new year. And when the next winter gives way to spring, rest assured, it will once again be “Dodger time for baseball.” So, this Finn Scully wishes you a very good evening, wherever you are.”
“I never thought I’d be cool,” Scully said. diverse in 2008. “All I wanted to do was play the game as best I could. And to this day, that’s all I can think of. I mean, I come here, (and) my whole idea is ready, I do the game, and if I do it well with what Enough, well, and if I make a mistake, I’ll consume myself all the way home.
“I’ve always felt (that) I haven’t really accomplished anything. What I’ve done is spend my life talking about other people’s accomplishments… It’s a privilege — it’s really, I suppose it’s a privilege. I really don’t take myself too seriously.”
Scully lives with four children and two stepchildren as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His second wife, Sandra, passed away in 2021.