Since growing up in the 50s and 60s, I have attended games at Dodger Stadium at least 100 times. My earliest heroes were Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, and especially broadcaster, Vin Scully.
Throughout my entire life, Scully’s lyrical, sharp-eyed descriptions of literally thousands of ball games steadily flowed like a river from my transistor radio, no matter if I was at the ballpark or somewhere else. But my initial exposure to the Dodgers—and baseball—was in 1959 when I was very young and impressionable.
My family lived in an apartment in Montrose and my parents were listening to the Sunday Game 3 of the World Series at the other end of the living room. I was playing on the floor and the fans cheering at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum coming through the speaker of our console radio initially caught my attention. Although I didn’t understand much about the game then, my attention was drawn in by the play-by-play announcer declaring the Dodgers had finally scored. Moving across the room, I joined my attentive parents as the Dodgers successfully clung to the victory behind relief pitcher Larry Sherry. By game’s end we were hanging on every golden-toned word. And my fascination with cartoons and cowboys had ended for good.
As a teenager, basketball became my favorite sport, but listening to Vin Scully broadcast Dodger baseball games remained an enchanting fixture of my summer nights and weekend days. In fact, Vin Scully Dodgers broadcasts have been one of the few constants that have stretched throughout my life. Even though I later lived in Central California for many years, I still managed to catch Dodgers games listening to radio stations in Bakersfield and Visalia, sometimes with lots of static trying unsuccessfully to drown out Vin’s voice.
When I finally moved back to LA in 2006, I was eager to visit Dodger Stadium again and once bought 30 tickets for a single game. In that quantity they were half price and I was able to attend with a lot of people I knew. I was also eligible to post a short message on the scoreboard. It was a delight to be at the ball game when my 20-character-or-less scoreboard tribute, “Vin Scully #1 LA Poet” was posted. I could only hope that my favorite Dodger was looking on.
A few weeks ago, on September 25, I felt extremely fortunate to be able to attend Vin Scully’s last game as a broadcaster at Dodger Stadium. I was holding my transistor along with thousands of others as the team defeated the Colorado Rockies 3-2 in extra innings to lock up the National League Western Division title. Vin’s calling of the game was filled with almost supernatural magnetism, just as it was the first time I’d listened to him. It was a special magic that will never be duplicated.