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After news of Vin Scully’s death broke recently, tributes to the longtime Dodgers broadcaster poured in from all across the sports world.
Scully was hailed as a poet, the voice of baseball, and as a remarkable storyteller, capable of seamlessly weaving personal anecdotes into play-by-play announcing.
It’s almost impossible to overstate how much Scully meant to the Dodgers organization and the city of Los Angeles; he moved with the organization in the 1950’s and became the single strongest connection between the team and its fans.
In fact, it often felt like he became a bigger celebrity than many of the players, with legendary stories of radio broadcasts being audible from the field due to transistor radio usage by fans.
Scully’s style was unmatched, and his commitment to neutrality has been almost entirely abandoned by modern broadcasters.
But more than that, he emotionally tied together generations of fans, with grandparents and grandchildren sharing the same affinity for his remarkable voice, impeccable feel for the moment, and beautiful prose.
Among many other examples, his story of Madison Bumgarner’s encounter with a rattlesnake exemplifies his ability to humanize players, even on opposing teams, while not losing track of the game:
But beyond his incredible skills, Scully’s longevity and employment by a historic franchise gave him tremendous opportunities to call meaningful games.
As one MLB analyst pointed out, Scully has called over 4% of all games in MLB history, including games that were played before television was even invented.
There have been well over 218,000 games played in the league and Scully called more than 4% of all of them.
Another Twitter user pointed out that Scully has called 6% of all of the no-hitters that have ever occurred since MLB began, and a remarkable 13% of all of the perfect games.
The most famous example was Sandy Koufax’s 1965 masterpiece, which was one of the finest moments of both men’s incredible careers:
These records will obviously never be broken. Vin was the Dodgers announcer for 67 years; that kind of longevity is unheard of and nearly impossible to replicate.
There’s a quote from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” that feels more applicable to Scully than almost anyone else: “We are merely passing through history,” but Vin Scully IS history.