A JOY TO LISTEN TO
Chatting with legendary announcer Vin Scully, 92, is a privilege
Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully watched a moving truck last week take away many of his prized possessions from his home for an auction Sept. 23 — everything from his plaques and awards to World Series rings to an autographed book from Theodore Roosevelt to balls and bats from baseball greats to his own scorebooks.
“The primary goal is to raise money and give it to the children,” said Scully, who has five children, 16 grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. “I’d rather help them now when I can see and feel their joy as opposed to the grave when I miss out.”
The most painful moment, Scully, 92, said, was watching his golf clubs being loaded. He and his wife, Sandi, were passionate about playing the sport — he was a 12-handicap golfer with three holes-in-one on his career scorecard — but now he won’t play again.
“When I saw those golf clubs going into the truck, I felt a twinge of sadness,” he said. “It’s like a door closing a major part of my life.”
Scully retired four years ago after 67 years of calling the Dodgers, World Series, Super Bowls and golf, but when he talks, well, go ahead, pull up a chair and listen. Here are highlights of an hourlong conversation that felt more like five seconds. On struggles in America:
“I believe with all of my heart and soul that this is the greatest country God put on Earth. Being great, you have to have problems that are equally great. It’s really hard right now, but I’m just so confident that with the greatness of the country, and the greatness of people, we can take a few knocks and keep on going.” On watching Jackie Robinson suffer:
“It was so painful to see for so long. It would make you shudder. I remember we were playing in old Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. There was a high foul ball by the first-base stands. Gil Hodges went over. Jackie came over to back up. And someone threw a whiskey bottle out of the upper deck. The whiskey bottle landed right between them. I remember Gil patting Jack on the back, and saying, ‘Hey, you’re not alone. I’m with you.’
“I remember my first year, it was shocking. We would get off the train in St. Louis and go to the Chase Hotel. It was a pretty good drive. Then, suddenly, we would stop on the street corner, and the Black players would grab their suitcases and get off the bus. I asked, ‘Where are they going?’ I was told, ‘Oh, there’s a very nice doctor in St. Louis, and he makes arrangements at a Black hotel where they could stay.’ Finally, Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella convinced Chase management, ‘Hey, we’re just like anybody else.’ Jackie said, ‘I’m not going in there begging.’
“Well, they eventually let them in, but I remember Newk saying the first time they were allowed in, they were not allowed to go to public rooms or use the pool. They went through a humbling experience. It was a tough time.” On baseball’s new rules in this pandemic season:
“I think the average fan would love to get the regular season back. These doubleheaders, going only seven innings, are over too quick. If you went to a game and it lasted only two hours, you’d feel cheated. When I was working, the only people I ever heard grumble about the length of the game were the broadcasters and sportswriters. I don’t know that fans care.” On his accident in April:
“It might have been a bloodpressure problem. I was going to go out and check the mail. We have a driveway, sloping downhill, and I was walking along. Well, one minute I’m walking and the next I’ve got fractured ribs, a broken nose, a concussion. They thought I broke my jaw. I did not trip. I just collapsed. Because of that, I have a nurse follow me every step of the way now. I heard someone at Bel-Air [Country Club] say once, ‘We’re all one fall from a change of life.’ Boy, does that fit me to a T.” On daily life in the Scully household:
“The only social life I have is a doctor’s appointment. I haven’t left the house since the fall. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m afraid to even drive. I can’t go to church. I watch mass on TV Sunday morning. I’m like everybody else, locked in.
“We watch a lot of sports. We’ll start late morning with some golf, leave that, go to a ballgame, leave the ballgame and go back to pick up a basketball game, and then pick up an hour of golf, and then repeat the process. We’ll stay up, look at the clock, and if it’s 9:30, we’ll say, ‘OK, good luck, guys, we got to go to sleep.’
“That’s our life now. When you’re coming up to 93, you have a lot of thoughts, what you’re doing, where you’ve been, but you can’t be depressed. Thanks to the good Lord, I have a wonderful life.”
Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully has culled items from his personal collection of memorabilia and is putting them up for auction on Sept. 23.