Thanks, Vinny

Fondly memories of ‘The Voice of God’ out of Dodgers Stadium

The author is a Chico State physics professor and a writer for The Hardball Times.

“A very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.”

I first heard those words when the Dodgers left baseball-mad Brooklyn for the post-war expansion of Los Angeles. They would come to mean so much to me, as Vincent Edward Scully’s lilting voice would become the soundtrack for my summers.

As a child, I visited Dodger Stadium. The portable transistor radio had just become common and every fan had one. Vinny’s descriptions drifted through the park like the aroma of Dodger Dogs. Hence his nickname, “The Voice of God.”

In my teens, I worked in my dad’s retail shop—Scully calling the action on the radio. When I moved north for college, I listened to Vin through static-filled broadcasts from Fresno. When the time came, we practiced Lamaze to the Voice of God.

Wafting through my home these days, Vin’s cadence recalls my youth. He enlivens slow innings with a story of meeting Babe Ruth or having dinner with Joe DiMaggio. He describes racing Jackie Robinson—on ice skates! Baseball has no clock, but Vin built the drama of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game by repeatedly citing the time: “9:46 p.m. in the city of the angels …”

In 1988, Kirk Gibson hit his famous World Series home run. Vinny shouted, “High fly ball to right field. She is gone!” For the next 67 seconds, Scully remained silent, letting the camera tell the story. Then he summarized, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

Two months before my kidney transplant, I caught a foul ball. Vinny was just 12 rows behind me. When the game ended, I held up the ball and pantomimed signing it. He took pity on the sickly fellow below and waved me toward the booth. I couldn’t see inside. I tossed the ball up and it was soon dropped back to me neatly autographed “Vin Scully.”

Each spring, I eagerly await Vin’s call on opening day. Alas, he’s calling his final game on Oct. 2. This coming spring, one fewer bird will sing. I will sadly whisper, “a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.”