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Dodgers handler for 67 years, Vin Scully passes away at 94

LOS ANGELES — Legendary handler and Baseball Hall of Famer Vin Scully died at the age of 94 on Tuesday night, according to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scully passed away at his home in Hidden Hills, the Dodgers, who spoke to the family, said.

“He was the voice of the Dodgers and so much more,” the Dodgers said in a statement. He was their conscience and their poet, capturing their beauty. He was their heartbeat, but also that of all of Los Angeles.

“We have lost a giant,” wrote team chief executive Stan Kasten. He was one of the biggest voices in everyone in sports. He loved people, life and his family. His voice will remain etched in our memories forever.”

As the descriptor who has been on the same team for the most years in any sport, Scully has seen it all and he’s described it all.

Scully began his career as a reporter in the 1950s, during the era of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson. In the 1960s he shared the exploits of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, and so on with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, then Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela, in the decades that followed.

In the 1990s, it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo, before players like Clayton Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in the 21st century.

The Dodgers have changed players, managers, leaders, owners — and even coasts — but Scully and his unique, soothing voice have informed and entertained baseball fans for 67 years.

He began a broadcast with a familiar greeting, “Good morning everyone and I wish you a very nice evening, wherever you are”.

Always gracious on the mic and in person, Scully simply saw himself as a link between baseball and its die-hard fans.

Even though he was paid by the Dodgers, Scully wasn’t afraid to criticize a bad play or bad decision by a manager. Nor was he shy about praising an opponent while telling stories against the backdrop of routine plays or notorious accomplishments. He always said he wanted to see things with his eyes and not his heart.

Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927, in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk seller who died of pneumonia when Scully was 7. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where Scully grew up playing stickball on the streets.

As a child, Scully would grab a pillow, place it under the family’s four-legged radio, and lay her head directly under the speaker to hear whatever college football game was playing. With a snack of saltine crackers and a glass of milk nearby, the boy was transfixed by the roar of the crowd, which gave him goosebumps. He got to thinking that he himself would like to describe the action.

Scully, who played as an outfielder for two years at Fordham University, began his career reporting baseball, football and basketball games on the university’s radio station.

At age 22, he was hired by a CBS-affiliated radio station in Washington, District of Columbia.

He soon joined Baseball Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond portraying the Brooklyn Dodgers on both radio and television. In 1953, at the age of 25, Scully became the youngest person to describe a World Series game. This mark still holds today.

He moved to the American West Coast with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully described three perfect games — Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax in 1965 and former Montreal Expos Dennis Martinez in 1991 — and 18 games without a run or hit.

Scully was also on the air when Drysdale set a record 58 2/3 innings without a run allowed in 1968, and also when Hershiser broke that record with 59 straight innings without a run allowed 20 years later.

When Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run to break Babe Ruth’s record, in 1974, he did the feat against the Dodgers and, of course, Scully did the description.

“Black guy gets standing ovation down south for breaking baseball idol record,” Scully told listeners. What a wonderful time for baseball.”

Scully was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame the same year, and saw Dodger Stadium’s press gallery named after him in 2001. The Street That leads to the main entrance to Dodger Stadium was named in his honor in 2016.

In 2016, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully has described NFL games and PGA Tour events. He described 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was the NBC network’s main baseball reporter from 1983 to 1989.

While one of the most trusted handlers in the country, Scully was an intensely private man. Once the baseball season was over, he disappeared. He rarely made public appearances or appeared on sports chat shows. He preferred to spend time with his family.

After retiring in 2016, Scully made just a handful of Dodger Stadium appearances and his sweet voice was heard narrating the occasional video played during games. Above all, he was content to stay close to home.

“I just want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man, and a man who lived up to his own beliefs,” he said in 2016.

In 2020, Scully auctioned off years of her personal memorabilia, which fetched over $2 million. A portion of this sum was donated to the University of California at Los Angeles for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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