Vin Scully Credits a Terrible Stadium and the Transistor Radio

The broadcasting legend gets ready to leave his art in San Francisco.

We’re down to the final three games. Vin Scully will close out his incredible broadcasting career this weekend in San Francisco, with much of Southern California set to tune in to Sunday’s 12:05 p.m. contest.

One of the many remarkable things about Scully is that like his baseball broadcasts, his interviews are also timeless. This morning on KFI AM 640’s The Bill Handel Show, the host replayed his conversation with Scully from 2015. It sounded as fresh as it did originally and includes an explanation from Scully of the fortuitous genesis of his anecdotal radio style:

“When we came out to Los Angeles, in 1958, you have to remember, we were playing in the Coliseum, which was certainly not built for baseball. And the fans, many of whom were high up in the stands, the players were not only dots on the field but outside of the superstars, the fans were not particularly aware of the rank and file. So I tried very hard to make the players that appeared to be only dots on the field, human beings. And that’s really what got me started talking directly to the fans, telling a little quip now and then, and particularly trying to make the players more human. Rather than wind-up dolls.” …

“I tell you the truth. The greatest single thing that happened to Jerry Doggett, God rest his soul, my partner for so many years, the best thing that happened to us was – number one, playing in a ballpark that wasn’t a ballpark; second was the arrival of the transistor radio. That marriage of the park and the radio was probably the greatest set of circumstances that any broadcaster has ever had.”

And thus, the longstanding tradition of patrons faithfully listening to Scully while in the stands was born. As Handel introduced this morning’s replay, his news announcer Aron Bender recalled going to games as a young boy with his grandfather, transistor radio in hand. Doggett passed away in 1997.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
An Act of Vin Scully Kindness
Vin Scully, With Wings