Happy Birthday, Vin

We send along our birthday greetings to Hall of Fame Baseball announcer, Vin Scully, who celebrates his 80th birthday today, with fifty-seven (57) years behind the mike for the Dodgers. Remarkable. Happy Birthday, Vin.

For a bit more on his illustrious career, click here.
(He is an honorary member of the Ballparkradio broadcast crew)

There are many, many audio clips of Vin Scully’s fine work. Click here to listen to one of my favorites from a game I was lucky enough to see in person, between the Dodgers and the Yankees in June 2004. It’s a large file, so please be patient while it download to play.

Certainly another game that often comes to mind when thinking of Vin’s best work was his call of Kirk Gibson’s home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

“And, he (relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley) walked him (pinch-hitter Mike Davis)… and look who’s comin’ up!

(36 seconds of crowd cheering)

“All year long, they looked to him to light the fire, and all year long, he answered the demands, until he was physically unable to start tonight— with two bad legs: The bad left hamstring, and the swollen right knee. And, with two out, you talk about a roll of the dice…this is it. If he hits the ball on the ground, I would imagine he would be running 50 percent to first base. So, the Dodgers trying to catch lightning right now!

“Fouled away.

“He was, you know, complaining about the fact that, with the left knee bothering him, he can’t push off. Well, now, he can’t push off and he can’t land…4-3 A’s, two out, ninth inning, not a bad opening act!

“Mike Davis, by the way, has stolen 7 out of 10, if you’re wondering about Lasorda throwing the dice again. 0-and-1.

“Fouled away again…0-and-2 to Gibson, the infield is back, with two out and Davis at first. Now Gibson, during the year, not necessarily in this spot, but he was a threat to bunt. No way tonight, no wheels.

“No balls, two strikes, two out.

“Little nubber… foul—and, it had to be an effort to run that far. Gibson was so banged up, he was not introduced; he did not come out onto the field before the game. … It’s one thing to favor one leg, but you can’t favor two. 0-and-2 to Gibson.

“Ball one. And, a throw down to first, Davis just did get back. Good play by Ron Hassey using Gibson as a screen; he took a shot at the runner, and Mike Davis didn’t see it for that split-second and that made it close.

“There goes Davis, and it’s fouled away! So, Mike Davis, who had stolen 7 out of 10, and carrying the tying run, was on the move.

“Gibson, shaking his left leg, making it quiver, like a horse trying to get rid of a troublesome fly. 2-and-2! Tony LaRussa is one out away from win number one…two balls and two strikes, with two out.

“There he goes! Wa-a-ay outside, he’s stolen it!…So, Mike Davis, the tying run, is at second base with two out. Now, the Dodgers don’t need the muscle of Gibson, as much as a base hit, and on deck is the lead-off man, Steve Sax. 3-and-2. Sax waiting on deck, but the game right now is at the plate.

“High fly ball into right field, she i-i-i-is… gone!!

(67 seconds of cheering)

“In a year that has been so improbable… the impossible has happened!

“And, now, the only question was, could he make it around the base paths unassisted?!

“You know, I said it once before, a few days ago, that Kirk Gibson was not the Most Valuable Player; that the Most Valuable Player for the Dodgers was Tinkerbell. But, tonight, I think Tinkerbell backed off for Kirk Gibson. And, look at Eckersley —shocked to his toes!

“They are going wild at Dodger Stadium. No one wants to leave!”

“Dennis Eckersley allowed five home runs all year. We’ll be back.”

Speaking of Mike Davis, it was his brother Johnny Davis who helped lead his Seattle Fastpitch team to the NAFA 50+ National title this year, in Carson City, Nevada. Johnny was a one-man wrecking crew against the editor’s own Deadwood team, hitting not one, but two home runs. A payback for a wisecrack I made about him during a broadcast back in 2002. Not that he remembered 😉

Speaking of radio broadcasts, Ballparkradio will be on the air again in Orlando – 2008 being our fifth consecutive year of bringing you live AAU broadcasts. This year’s crew will be the largest yet, and looking remarkably like the ISC II crew. Rising young star Kyle Smith will be front and center, back for his second year, while ISC II commish and ISC II broadcast crew chief Blair Setford will be on hand — both as a player and broadcasters. Blair and Kyle arrive earlier than I, and are making arrangements to broadcast a Thursday game or two, giving us 4 days of broadcasts instead of the usual three. Bill Hillhouse, one of the listeners’ favorite analysts will likely be on hand, and waiting to hear from the ISC II’s original broadcaster Joe Todd, to see if he will join us again. All in all, it figures to give you plenty to do at work on Thursday and Friday instead of working, leading into the weekend playoff round. Don’t miss it !

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