Vin Scully called Dodger baseball games for 67 years. Of those 67 years, 59 were spent in Los Angeles. Yet, the first formative years of Scully’s career, which launched his ascent to the top of the sportscasting industry and built his legend, were spent in the city where he grew up: New York.
Vin Scully grew up as a New York Giant fan. He went into sports broadcasting at Fordham University. He became part of the Dodger family, a member of the community at Ebbets Field whom iconic broadcaster Red Barber took under his wing.
Vin Scully was a New Yorker who had a seat behind the microphone at a point in time when New York was America’s “Capital of Baseball,” the name of one of Ken Burns’ installments in his 1994 PBS series “Baseball.”
When the Giants, the Dodgers, and especially the Yankees all ruled New York — they were all richly successful teams on the field in the 1950s — it was hard to imagine that such a golden age of baseball would be broken up.
Yet, it happened.
USC leaving the Pac-12 and the world of West Coast football for a conference which has a foothold in the Chicago and New York markets? The notion was similarly hard to comprehend before Oklahoma and Texas moved to the SEC last year. That created the first real stirrings of USC-Big Ten dreams, but how many people seriously thought the rumors of 2021 would become reality in 2022?
There’s a story to be told about how Vin Scully’s career and the USC-Big Ten marriage contain obvious parallels.
NEW YORK DOMINANCE
Sep 24, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully arrives at his press conference for the media before the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Yankees, Giants, or Dodgers won every World Series from 1949 through 1956. In that same eight-year period, six of the eight World Series involved a combination of those teams, the Yankees winning all but one of those battles.
Imagine being a New Yorker in the middle of that baseball golden age. The idea of seeing teams move to California for economic reasons was hard if not impossible to grasp.
Vin Scully certainly felt a considerable amount of pain when the relationships he built in Brooklyn with the Dodgers were severed by Walter O’Malley’s decision to pack up and leave for Southern California. Yet, when the Dodgers moved, what was he to do? Stop broadcasting? This…