The news broke Tuesday night, and I immediately called friends and colleagues, sharing stories and memories, trying to comfort one another.
Vin Scully, the beautiful, soothing and powerful voice of baseball, and one of the most gentle, gracious and compassionate human beings you’ll ever come across, passed away.
It was hardly shocking. Scully was 94 years old. He was in failing health, rarely leaving his home, and wasn’t quite the same after Sandi, his beautiful wife, died 1 ½ years ago. He knew the end was near, and had stopped taking phone calls the last 10 days.
Still, the news brought us to our knees.
“This was inevitable,’’ said Charley Steiner, the radio voice of the Dodgers, “and I knew it was coming, but this is painful. It’s a tough one. This takes a chunk out of my heart.’’
It was during my 20-minute conversation with Steiner that it suddenly hit me.
Do I still have that voicemail?
I recently changed phones, is it still saved?
I scrambled, went through my voicemails, and there it was: May 2, 2016, at 4:16 p.m.
It was from Vin.
It was just a 45-second message, but here he was, thanking me for an article I wrote about his legacy. He said he wanted to write a letter, and apologized, saying he didn’t have my address. So, at the least, he wanted to call me.
I’ve never been so happy to miss a call in my life, knowing I would keep that voicemail, and forever treasure it.
Can you imagine?
Here is Vin Scully taking time out of his life to personally thank me for interviewing him before his 67th and final season of his iconic career.
He was not only the greatest broadcaster in baseball history, but sports history. You turned on the radio just to listen to Vin. The Dodgers could be losing 11-3, out of the race by June, but always there was that soothing voice to let you sit back, relax and forget about your troubles.
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If you knew Vin, if you even met Vin, if you just listened to Vin, you loved Vin.
I felt privileged to know him, and whenever I called his cell phone or home phone number, he greeted me as if I was his best friend from his childhood days, never once acting as if he was more important than anyone else.
He was a living, breathing, walking, talking, saint.
Go ahead, try to find anyone in the world who didn’t feel blessed just…