Vin Scully: Transistor Radio Was Career's Big ‘Break'

The Dodgers second-longest tenured employee, never one to put himself front and center, credits the transistor radio with advancing his career

Even a Hall of Fame broadcaster and one of the game's legendary voices needed a big break to give his career a boost.

For Vin Scully, entering his final week behind the mic at Dodger Stadium, it was a piece of technology. Scully credits the transistor radio as "the greatest single break" of his career.

In 1958, he came with the Dodgers to Los Angeles from New York. Fans had trouble recognizing some of the players during the team's first four years in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a stadium where fans were seated far from the action.

"They were 70 or so odd rows away from the action," Scully told reporters Monday during a conference call. "They brought the radio to find out about all the other players and to see what they were trying to see down on the field."

That habit carried over when the team moved to Dodger Stadium. Fans at the games held radios to their ears and those not present listened from home or the car, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words.

Scully's fascination with sports and the roar of the crowd began when he was growing up in the Bronx. He would grab a pillow, put it under his family's four-legged radio and lay his head directly under the speaker to hear whatever college football game was on the air in 1936.

With a snack of saltine crackers and a glass of milk nearby, the red-haired boy was transfixed by the crowd's roar that raised goosebumps. He thought about how much he'd like to be at the game. As time went on, he thought he'd like to call the action himself.

His youthful aspirations came true at 22 when he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, D.C. The following year, he joined Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers' radio and television booths. In 1953, at age 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a mark that still stands.

Scully discovered his lifelong love of baseball walking home from grade school. He passed a Chinese laundromat and saw the score from Game 2 of the 1936 World Series: Yankees 18, Giants 4.

"My first reaction was, `Poor Giants,"' he recalled, noting he lived near the team's home at the Polo Grounds and attended many games for free after school. "That's when I fell in love with baseball and became a true fan."

Now 88, Scully is heading into his final week behind the mic at Dodger Stadium before concluding his career on Oct. 2 in San Francisco, where the Dodgers end the regular season against the rival Giants. His 67 years with the Dodgers make Scully the longest-tenured broadcaster with a single team in professional sports.

"I will miss it," he said Monday. "I know that dramatically."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us