I remember back when I was growing up, watching all the big names of entertainment begin to disappear. Hope, Crosby, Sinatra and so on. It seemed like, after a while, you couldn’t go a day without hearing about the passing of a famous name. And almost immediately you’d hear, “So who’s going to be next? They always happen in 3’s!”
It seems that these days, they’re getting group rates.
The month of August already makes me do math because when the 7th rolls around, that was the day my dad left this earth. He came up in conversation over the weekend and I realized that on the 7th this August, it had already been 7 years. Yet, it seems like yesterday.
In the past couple of weeks, August 2022 has claimed some of the headliners in my memory bank, including the likes of Bill Russell, Tony Dow and just today, Olivia Newton-John.
But the biggest stunner of this year’s class of ’22 has to be the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully.
Even the most die-hard baseball fans around the country will never really understand what impact that man had on my life and so many other fans of those ‘Bums’. He began his broadcasting career with the Brooklyn Dodgers before I was born and continued bringing each game to life on the radio and eventually TV every year of my life as I was growing up.
He wasn’t just “that guy on the radio.” He WAS the Dodgers. Vin didn’t just describe the action we saw on the radio, but he spent a lot of his time spinning baseball yarn after baseball yarn, with stories that would sometime go an entire inning. Think how amazing that is–he broadcast Dodger games for 67 years on the radio. I turn 67 next month.
He was the voice calling the game when Sandy Koufax, my childhood idol, pitched one of his four no-hitters. I can still hear Vin saying, “Swung on and missed! A perfect game!”
In the days when games on television were a rarity, when they did show us the Dodgers and Giants tangling up north in Candlestick Park, we’d be glued to the TV and were able to enjoy Vin’s voice with pictures, being able to actually see Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, Johny Podres, Ron Perranoski, Maury Wills, Jim Gilliam and Wes Parker. Oh, and the Davis brothers, Tommy and Willie.
The one game that stands out was the time the Dodgers and Giants were going at it and some bad blood between San Fran pitcher Juan Marichal and Dodgers catcher John Roseboro erupted with Juan taking his bat and attacking Roseboro. As the benches emptied and madness ensued, I can still hear Vin saying something to the effect of, “You Little Leaguers at home watching at home, that’s not good sportsmanship.”
Wow, Vin was talking to ME!
Back in the 1960s, there were three television networks and a couple of local stations. That was it. Most nights during the summer, our TV remained off (come on, they were showing reruns) and the time I had before putting on jammies and going to bed was spent listening to Vin Scully and his partner, Jerry Doggett, delivering the pitch-by-pitch details.
Memories eventually fade. Next year at this time, we’ll be mourning the loss of another round of people I grew up with. However, two of the sounds I will never forget are my dad’s classics like, “What in the Sam Hill?” and “Go ask your mother,” and Vin Scully’s declaration that something special was about to begin: “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”
I’ll always hang on to those, especially this month. Yeah, August is a rough one.