There have been lots of post of what Vin Scully meant to baseball, and Dodger fans in particular, but as someone who was never a Dodger fan and therefore never listened to Dodger games, his passing is still personal.
For 18 seasons, I was a stringer for MLB.com in Los Angeles, which meant I would occasionally be asked to head out to the stadium and cover games. During those games my professional interaction with Vin was limited, but whenever we’d pass each other in the press box, he’d always acknowledge me with smile and a hello, as if we were actual colleagues, rather than two strangers who happened to occasionally be at the same place, and as he’d move on, I would always think, “Wow, Vin Scully just said hello to me!”
Once while covering the Pirates, Vin came out and ask if anyone knew why all of the Pittsburgh sports teams wore black and gold, and when none of the Pittsburgh press could answer him, I went to his booth and told him the reason (see William Pitt the Elder). Not a big deal, but he couldn’t have been more effusive in his gratitude if I had actually done something important for him.
I also remember the day that Bobby Thomson, famous for hitting the Shot Heard Round the World, off of Vin’s good friend Ralph Branca, died. I was asked to get a few words from Vin, and rather than just give a quick quote, he asked if I and a couple of other writers would join him at a table in the press box dining room. We did, and for 20 minutes Vin spun the story of that day in such vivid detail, from his arrival at the stadium that morning, to the reactions of friends and family of the participants, that when it was all over, I felt as if I was actually at that game.
But probably the moment I’ll remember the most and which I think best reveals the type of person Vin was, was the day my wife and daughters came to a game I was working. I brought them up to the press box before the game so they could see where I would occasionally get to work, and as they were leaving, Vin appeared. I asked him if I could introduce him to my family, and without hesitation he said hello to my wife. Then he turned to the two little girls, 9 and 10 at the time, and showing no consideration that he was already in his 80s, he knelt down in front of them, so that their eyes could meet, and proceeded to ask their names, and take time to actually talk with them for a few moments. As I escorted them out, I could tell they didn’t quite understand who Vin was and why I wanted them to meet him. I pointed to the sign by the door, “Vin Scully Press Box” and asked what it said, and after they read it out loud, I pointed back inside, and simply said, “That was Vin Scully” which gave them a little more understanding.
Almost every remembrance of Vin I’ve read since the news of his passing, reflected not on what he did as a baseball announcer, but who he was as a person, and once again, all I can add, is that was Vin Scully.