The 15 greatest L.A. Dodgers of all time, No. 3: Vin Scully
Continuing our countdown of the greatest L.A. Dodgers of all time, as chosen by our readers.
No. 3: Vin Scully (3,299 first-place votes, 70,070 points)
When you think of the Dodgers, the first thing that pops into the minds of most people is Vin Scully, the greatest sports broadcaster in history.
Scully joined the Dodgers in 1950, working alongside Radio Hall of Famer and baseball legend Red Barber. In 1976, Dodger fans voted Scully the “most memorable personality” in Los Angeles Dodger history.
When the Dodgers moved to L.A. in 1958, they played at the Coliseum, which wasn't really designed for baseball and had some poor sight lines for the fans. Because some fans had such difficulty following the action there, they began to bring radios to the game and would listen while they were watching it live, a practice that continues to this day at Dodger Stadium.
In recent years, Scully cut back his work schedule to approximately 110 games a year. Usually, he will call the first three innings on radio and television, then work the rest of the game only on television. He has hinted in the past that the 2010 season may be his last, something no one wants to happen. And good luck to whoever has to replace him.
Some of Scully's most memorable calls and quotes (courtesy of baseball-almanac.com):
"All year long they looked to him [Kirk Gibson] to light the fire and all year long he answered the demands. High fly ball into right field. She is gone! [pause] In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened."
"Sometimes it seems like he's [Bobby Bonilla] playing underwater."
"There's a high bouncer over the mound, over second base, Mantilla's up with it, throws low and wild ...Hodges scores, we go to Chicago! [crowd noise for a nice long while] The Cinderella team [1959 Los Angeles Dodgers] of the National League."
"There's a little roller up along first, behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!" -- 1986 World Series
"When he [Maury Wills] runs, it's all downhill."
"Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day [pause]. Aren't we all?"
"Football is to baseball as blackjack is to bridge. One is the quick jolt. The other the deliberate, slow-paced game of skill, but never was a sport more ideally suited to television than baseball. It's all there in front of you. It's theater, really. The star is the spotlight on the mound, the supporting cast fanned out around him, the mathematical precision of the game moving with the kind of inevitability of Greek tragedy. With the Greek chorus in the bleachers!"
"He [Bob Gibson] pitches as though he's double-parked."
"He's [Tom Glavine] like a tailor; a little off here, a little off there and you're done, take a seat."
"How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away."
"It's a mere moment in a man's life between the All-Star Game and an old timers' game."
"It's a passing [the last NBC Game of the Week on Oct. 9, 1989] of a great American tradition. It is sad. I really and truly feel that. It will leave a vast window, to use a Washington word, where people will not get Major League Baseball and I think that's a tragedy."
"I would come home to listen to a football game — there weren't other sports on — and I would get a pillow and I would crawl under the radio, so that the loudspeaker and the roar of the crowd would wash all over me, and I would just get goose bumps like you can't believe. And I knew that of all the things in this world that I wanted, I wanted to be that fella saying, whatever, home run, or touchdown. It just really got to me."
No. 4: Tommy Lasorda
No. 5: Maury Wills
No. 6: Steve Garvey
No. 7: Orel Hershiser
No. 8: Fernando Valenzuela
No. 9: Mike Piazza
No. 10: Don Sutton
No. 11: Walter Alston
No. 12: Ron Cey
No. 13: Walter O'Malley
No. 14: Tommy Davis
No. 15: Kirk Gibson
Photo: Vin Scully in 2009. Credit: Los Angeles Times.