Who was Scully Los Angeles?

It was Venice Beach, Pinky’s Hot Dog Stand, and the Hollywood Bowl all rolled into one. He was Los Angeles, the voice of summer, the poet laureate of the Dodgers – Brooklyn and Los Angeles – for 67 seasons.

We knew Vin Scully wouldn’t last forever. It just seemed like he could. Even in retirement, years after his last broadcast in 2016, his presence remained as omnipresent and ethereal as the ocean and the air.

“There are two words to describe Vinny: Babe Ruth,” said Charlie Steiner, the Dodgers’ radio play-by-play man since 2005 after moving west from the Yankees’ bullpen (2002-04). “The best he ever did.” Babe Ruth is always defined as baseball. Vin will always be remembered as the voice of baseball.

The wild ride that was Tuesday’s major league trade deadline gave way suddenly and dramatically to the gravity of the night when the Dodgers announced that Scully had died at the age of 94. The cycle of baseball’s life, distilled into a single day: New beginnings and sadness. endings. Scully’s health had declined in recent months, and those who knew him well were preparing for the phone call. But when it came, it was still a gut punch.

“It doesn’t make it any easier because we lost a friend,” said Rick Monday, a former outfielder and longtime Dodgers broadcaster. “Whether we actually met Vin Scully or not, he was our friend.”

Like best friends, it was full of wonder, joy, humility, and surprises.

“When I was in college, I wrote for The Times, so you’ve probably seen my byline,” Scully said, beginning an interview with The New York Times earlier this summer about Gil Hodge as if it were his days at Fordham University. They were just a short time ago. “It says ‘Special Correspondent of The Times.’ I was under an assumed name. Anyway, I just wanted you to know my literary background.”

Another time, late at night after an interleague game at Angel Stadium early in the 2013 season, some members of the news media were waiting for the press box elevator home for the evening when Scully joined them for the ride. He was wearing a brace on his left hand and wrist, the result of a tendinitis attack.

“I was telling someone earlier that I should just tell people that I’m interested in a falcon and I’m waiting for a bird,” he said, smiling broadly. “That would be a better story, wouldn’t it?”

His instincts were perfect and his joy constant.

“He was very well read,” Monday said. “He also spoke English. When you listened to Vin, you felt like you had to go back to school immediately. But he never spoke to anyone. He was amazing. “

In what was one of his last public acts, Scully wrote a letter to the Baseball Hall of Fame Era Committee to support Hodges’ candidacy for the Hall of Fame—a letter that was said to be very influential. But the ever-humble Scully refused to believe he had enough influence to sway voters and, moreover, didn’t want any credit.

“Even when I wrote it, I had my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t be exposed so that I was suddenly trying to be in the same spotlight because I didn’t want that at all,” Scully said this summer. “Yes, I wrote the letter and as far as I know it was true in every respect. But I don’t want to dwell on that at all.

“I’m very sensitive now that I’m retired. I just don’t want to do anything where it might look out of place.”

But Scully’s “place” was everywhere, a friend welcomed by everyone, starting with her warm invitation to “pull up a chair” at the start of every show. And for nearly seven decades, from the mansions of Bel Air to the blue-collar neighborhoods around South County, he’s built an incredible extended family under the name of the Dodgers.

Monday grew up in Santa Monica, California, with a single mother who fell in love with the Dodgers when they moved west in 1958. Every time they were in the car when the Dodgers were playing, Monday recalled, Scully was their companion.

“His voice was like a gentle hand on your shoulder saying, ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.’ Whatever happens in the world, whatever happens in your life, these next three hours, I’ve got you,” Monday said. “That’s the feeling we had.”

Millions of others have experienced similar emotions during Iron Man’s 67 years.

“I was fascinated by the game and even more fascinated by Vinny’s voice and the way he presented the game,” Monday said. “The description of the form, the pitch, how fast the guy was running, how hard he hit the ball, the diving catch. When Vinny made a play, it wasn’t just the plays of the game, it was the brilliance of the game.”

Monday was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1965 amateur baseball draft by the Athletics, who traded him to the Chicago Cubs before the 1972 season.

“So the Dodgers are finally going to Chicago and my mom can watch the game on TV,” he said Monday. “This is my seventh year in the bigs and my mom heard Vin Scully mention my name. I said, “Mom, you didn’t even know I was in the big leagues until Vin called my name.” He laughed. That made it official. “

The Los Angeles Times Magazine named Scully the most trusted person in Los Angeles in 1998. Eight years earlier, the late, legendary Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray had confirmed that Scully was the most important Dodger of them all. Little has changed since then.

“Vincent Edward Scully meant as much or more to the Dodgers than any .300 hitter they ever signed, 20-game winner they ever produced,” Murray wrote in an August 1990 column. “True, he didn’t hesitate. home plate and hit the home run that made the season a miracle – but he knew what to do with it, so it resonated through the ages.

When Kirk Gibson struck out Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley to break the Dodgers’ streak in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Scully exclaimed, “In a year that was so improbable, the impossible happened!

He was silent for one minute and eight seconds, allowing the raucous Dodger Stadium crowd to fill the television speakers. Feedback continues to this day.

His sense of time, history and moment was impeccable no matter what.

“He wasn’t just an announcer,” Steiner said. He wasn’t just a baseball figure. He was a father figure, he was sad, he was the conscience, he was everything we hoped was right with the world. And more often than not he was. “

Steiner continued, “Los Angeles is a city of stars. Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks. For a long time I felt who was the biggest star because of his longevity. No one has ever done it better and no one has said it stinks. He was comforting, parenting, angelic. He had a brilliant, flawless mind.”

After Tuesday night’s Dodgers-Giants game, he said Monday that he was in his San Francisco hotel room until 5 a.m. replaying the memories in his mind, alternately smiling and crying. When he and his wife travel somewhere, he said, his wife often jokes that the place wasn’t as good as the brochure. “Vin Scully was better than a pamphlet,” said Monday.

He recalled Scully’s last Dodger Stadium show in 2016, when the icon gracefully serenaded an alienated crowd with “Wind Under My Wings” at the end of the game. Utility worker Charlie Culberson had destroyed the storybook home run moments earlier. What’s easy to forget is that it wasn’t Scully’s final assignment, with the Dodgers ending that season with a three-game sweep of San Francisco.

There, Culberson had his now-famous bat with him. When he wasn’t sure what to do with her, Monday suggested she sign Scully. Culberson was shy about asking Monday, and Scully said he would be “honored” to sign it.

On Monday, Culberson was followed upstairs to the San Francisco press box where they met with Scully.

“It was unbelievable,” said Monday. “It was like two kids in the park looking at this magic bat stick. Vinnie signed him and they were about to say goodbye when he walked into the booth, but the man who Vinnie always said was the best player he’d ever seen was Willie Mays.

Charlie and Winnie were already in tears, then Willie walks in and it was one of those time capsule moments.

“And then we’ll get the information in the third or fourth inning here last night, 60 feet away from where it happened.”

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