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How broadcasting legend Vin Scully captured one of Detroit sports’ most iconic moments

Kirk Gibson celebrates his game-winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully died Tuesday at 94.

Although Scully gained renown for his 67 seasons as the voice of the Dodgers in Brooklyn and LA — receiving the Baseball Hall of Fame’s highest honor for broadcasters, the Ford C. Frick Award, in 1982 — his calls are linked to many great non-LA moments in sports history. (USA TODAY captured several when he retired from calling Dodgers games in 2016.)

That includes a few with Detroit area ties.

Perhaps the most well-known is his call on the NBC broadcast of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics. The link to Detroit? Gibson, of course, was a Michigan State (baseball and football) alumnus in his first season with the Dodgers after seven years with the Tigers. Summoned from the clubhouse, where he was dealing with two ailing legs, Gibson launched a 3-2 pitch from closer Dennis Eckersley into the night sky in right field in Chavez Ravine for two runs and a walk-off LA victory. As Gibson rounded the bases and pumped his fist, Scully summed up the unlikelihood of the ex-Tiger taking Eckersley deep.

“In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened,” Scully intoned. “And now the only question was, could he make it around the base paths unassisted.”

He did, and his Dodgers went on to defeat the heavily favored A’s in five games.

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Kirk Gibson celebrates his game-winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Sully’s eloquence wasn’t limited to baseball, as he called the NFL for CBS in the late 1970s and early 1980s. One of his most notable football calls featured the San Francisco 49ers’ NFC championship win in 1982 — Joe Montana finding Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone in the final minute. That touchdown with 51 seconds sent the 49ers to Super Bowl 16, held at the Pontiac Silverdome on a frigid Jan. 24, 1982. It was his final football game on CBS.

In the NFL’s gamebook, the touchdown in San Francisco with 51 seconds remaining is described plainly: “Clark 6 pass from Montana.” But in Scully’s verbiage — “Montana… looking, looking, throwing in the end zone … Clark caught it! Dwight Clark! … It’s a madhouse at Candlestick!” — it became the internal narration for a…

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