SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As legendary broadcaster Vin Scully wraps up his 67 years of calling Los Angeles Dodgers games this weekend, the tributes are pouring in, especially from his colleagues in the sports broadcasting business.
Scully will call his final game Sunday in San Francisco as the Giants and the Dodgers revive their rivalry with a wild card berth on the line for the Giants. The Dodgers clinched the National League West division title last Sunday.
On KCBS Radio Friday morning, longtime Giants play-by-play man Jon Miller spoke about Scully’s impact on him as a broadcaster. Miller also revealed how he initially did not think much of Scully when he first heard him as a kid growing up as Giants fan, compared to his hometown broadcasters Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons.
“Russ Hodges used to say ‘Bye-bye baby!’ for a Giants homer and Lon Simmons would to say, ‘Tell it good-bye!’ and, you know, Vinny would just give you a vivid description of where the ball was going,” said Miller. “He might add, ‘way back, and she’s gone!’ and I remember, as a 10-year-old, thinking, ‘Oh, that’s it? That’s all he’s got? No wonder he’s working in a jerkwater town like L.A.”
Miller said Scully’s most memorable calls included his riveting 9th inning description of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965 and Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in 1974 which broke Babe Ruth’s record. For the Aaron call, Scully acknowledged the racial element of the moment, a hallowed record broken amid the hatred from people in the Deep South who did not want to see it broken by a black man.
“He captured the entire, larger picture of Henry Aaron, who had received death threats and hate mail and the FBI was sort of covering him and protecting him and what not,” said Miller. “And Vinny, he summed this whole thing up after the fact, and it was so magnificent that I thought it raised the art to a different level. It wasn’t just a baseball moment now.”
Miller ended the interview with a brief example of his now well-known imitation of Scully, with a Japanese twist. Click on the audio above to hear it.