On Sunday, legendary Los Angeles Dodgers baseball announcer Vin Scully broadcasted his last game at the age of 89. It was his 67th year of calling Dodgers games, a truly remarkable run.
I haven’t followed baseball as closely in recent years as I did growing up, but Vin’s voice is forever etched in my brain.
Some of my fondest summer memories as a kid consisted of lounging around the house or hanging out in the yard with my brother playing sports (we were very competitive with each other). Often, we had the sounds of a Dodgers game in the background, with Vin’s relaxed voice calling balls and strikes as we tried to stay cool in the summer heat.
As I watched the end of his final broadcast this past weekend, I reflected on his life and career and what made Vin so special.
I’m sure everybody has their own list, but here is mine:
1. Competence – Vin clearly did his homework. He would always cite obscure stats and facts about players, making the game feel alive. Preparation was clearly important to him, as he has said, “It’s a wonderful feeling to be a bridge to the past and to unite generations. The sport of baseball does that, and I am just a part of it.” Doing his homework made that possible.
2. Humility – I hope we can all have careers and sign off on our last day with as much class as Vin did on Sunday. Even when the moment was about him, he deflected to others.
3. A sense of purpose – To others, it was just baseball. But Vin Scully broadcasts went far beyond baseball, touching on the human condition. One of my favorite examples is Vin talking about socialism in a recent broadcast.
4. Humor – Vin was professional but always was willing to have fun. Check out this recording of Vin 40 years ago, reading a grocery list on air.
5. Leaving at the top of your game – I don’t know of any Dodgers fans who wanted Vin to step down, even at the age of 89. Many fans wanted him to stay on for the playoffs, but Vin declined. I think there is something admirable in that.
Vin Scully was exceptional at what he did for a long period of time, and that is something for all of us to aspire to.