TSN Archives: Shift Leaves Mellifluous Scully With Local Accent (March 19, 1990, issue)

This story, by Chuck Stogel, first appeared in the March 19, 1990, issue of The Sporting News.

His television announcing career spans a wide sports spectrum, from Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard Round the World" in 1951 to Kirk Gibson's stirring pinch-hit home run in the 1988 World Series and beyond.

During the interim, Vin Scully has:

• Broadcast 13 baseball no-hitters and two perfect games.

• Called "The Catch," the six-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark with 51 seconds left in the 1981 NFC championship game that lifted the San Francisco 49ers to a 28-27 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

• Witnessed five holes-in-one on camera and described golf victories in the Masters by Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd, Tom Watson (twice), Gary Player, Fuzzy Zoeller, Seve Ballesteros and Craig Stadler.

"I'm fortunate and deeply grateful, but really, I just happened to be at those things because it was my job,” said Scully, now entering his fifth decade in a TV sports announcing booth.

This year represents a significant change for Scully. After 15 years of network chores at both CBS and NBC, in addition to local responsibilities with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the glib, graceful, mellifluous announcer won't be heard on national telecasts.

Instead, Scully, a New York City native who went west with the Dodgers when they moved from Brooklyn in 1958, will confine himself to Los Angeles radio and television duties

The current career shift materialized both by dictate and by choice.

After eight years as the primary play-by-play voice for Major League Baseball games, Scully lost the role when NBC lost television rights to CBS, beginning this year. NBC asked Scully to continue broadcasting its golf events, but he declined.

"They wanted me to do about 14 tournaments, but with cable now that means five days away from home each time," said Scully. "I really want to cut back, spend more time with my family, play more golf, have more of an offseason (from baseball)."

It's fitting that Scully remains with the Dodgers, the team with whom it all began. Fresh out of Fordham University, Scully came aboard in 1950, after Ernie Harwell left. Red Barber hired Scully to join him and Connie Desmond in a three-man Dodgers broadcast crew.

"My mother was impressed," recalled Scully. "She thought I had been hired by Red Skelton."

Among the many games and events he's broadcast, Scully fondly points to the Thomson and Gibson home runs and the two perfect games.

Thomson's three-run, ninth-inning homer gave the New York Giants a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers in the third game of a best-of-three playoff for the 1951 National League pennant. Gibson's homer in the bottom of the ninth boosted the Dodgers over the Oakland Athletics in the opening game of the 1988 World Series

The perfect games Scully called were pitched by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees, in the fifth game of the 1956 World Series, and by Dodgers lefthander Sandy Koufax, in a 1965 regular-season game.

Scully also was at the mike for Hank Aaron's record-setting 715th career home run, off Dodgers pitcher Al Downing on April 8, 1974, in Atlanta.

"I'm so grateful I’ve been able to take it all in," said Scully. “I've approached my role as a professional announcer. I've tried to be factual, accurate, and a little entertaining I've worked with a lot of wonderful people, developed many pleasant relationships, shared a lot of wonderful moments."

Although his current role will be strictly local, Scully said he "will do more baseball games overall than I have in several years."

He will, that is, if the 1990 season isn't curtailed by the baseball owners' lockout. In the meantime, while spring training was on hold, Scully was happily ensconced in Los Angeles at home and on the golf course.

"I don't feel like I'll just be watching sunsets without the network assignments," he said. "I've still got a full plate."