Tuesday night the baseball world lost a legend. Longtime Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster and Hall of Famer Vin Scully died at his California home. He was 94. The Bronx-born Scully called national football and golf broadcasts, including for CBS Sports from 1975-82, in addition to his baseball duties.
“He was the voice of the Dodgers, and so much more. He was their conscience, their poet laureate, capturing their beauty and chronicling their glory from Jackie Robinson to Sandy Koufax, Kirk Gibson to Clayton Kershaw. Vin Scully was the heartbeat of the Dodgers – and in so many ways, the heartbeat of all of Los Angeles,” the team said in a statement.
Truth be told, Scully’s most famous call did not involve baseball. It came on Joe Montana’s touchdown pass to Dwight Clark in the 1982 NFC Championship game, in what is simply known as “The Catch.”
Scully called countless games in his 67-year career, including 18 no-hitters and three perfect games. Speaking as someone who grew up on the East Coast, Scully was often the last voice I heard before going to sleep each night, and staying up late to hear his broadcasts is one of my fondest baseball memories. I’m sure there are others who feel the same way.
Here are 10 of Scully’s most memorable baseball calls. This isn’t a ranking, there’s no need to debate these things and we can appreciate them all equally. It’s a trip down memory lane with the greatest to ever do it.
Oct. 8, 1956: Don Larsen’s perfect game
The only perfect game in World Series history was thrown in Game 1 of the 1956 Fall Classic and Scully was at Yankee Stadium to call it. Of course he was. Larsen threw the perfect game against the then-Brooklyn Dodgers. Here is Scully’s call on the final out:
Sept. 9, 1965: Sandy Koufax’s perfect game
There have been 23 perfect games in baseball history, including Larsen’s in the World Series, and Scully was behind the microphone for 13 percent of them. He called Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, and later called Dennis Martinez’s perfect game in 1991.
April 8, 1974: Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s record
Scully was a great broadcaster not so much because of the way he described the game on the field, but because he was curious about the game and always had a story to tell, and could put the grandest moments in the proper perspective. He did just that the night Aaron became the all-time home run king, explaining why it was so much more than a milestone home run.
Oct. 5, 1986: Bill Bucker’s error
The baseball gods have a way of putting the right people in the right place at the right time, and Scully found himself on the call for what seems like every iconic moment of the last 75 years. Here is Scully calling Bucker’s walk-off error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium.
Oct. 15, 1988: Kirk Gibson’s home run
Arguably the most iconic home run in baseball history — Gibson’s hobbled walk-off homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series — called by the most iconic broadcaster in baseball history. “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” A legendary call that will last as long as this game is played.
Oct. 23, 1993: Joe Carter’s home run
This is one of the very few occasions in which Scully’s call is only the second most famous. Tom Cheek’s legendary “Touch ’em all Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run!” call with live forever, but of course Scully was in the house for Carter’s World Series winning walk-off blast in Game 6 of the 1993 Fall Classic.
March 9, 2008: Public Enemy No. 1
The baseball world did not know much about Clayton Kershaw in spring training 2008. He was a Double-A pitching prospect at a time when prospect video was much, much harder to find. In a Cactus League game that spring, Kershaw froze Sean Casey with his hallmark curveball, much to the delight of Mr. Scully.
Aug. 6, 2012: Jim Tracy’s meltdown
Long before the days of lip-readers turning manager tirades into viral videos, Scully put his own spin on Tracy’s meltdown after the umpires conferenced and overturned a trap call in center field. “That is blinkin’ fertilizer.”
June 8, 2014: Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter
Scully called 18 no-hitters in his incredible career and the last was Kershaw’s in 2014, which was a Hanley Ramirez throwing error away from being a perfect game. Kershaw’s 15 strikeouts remain the most ever in a no-hitter.
Oct. 2, 2016: The final sign-off
Scully retired in 2016 and he gave an emotional sign-off during the game. His final call was a Rob Segedin fly ball to Ángel Pagán in left field at what was then called AT&T Park, which clinched a wild-card spot for the Giants. A pleasant end to the greatest and most pleasant broadcasting career in sports history.
“I have said enough for a lifetime, and for the last time, I wish you all a very pleasant good afternoon.”