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Berry Tramel


Vin Scully: Still going strong after 65 years

by Berry Tramel Published: August 1, 2014
Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully shakes hands with manager Don Mattingly. (AP Photo)
Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully shakes hands with manager Don Mattingly. (AP Photo)

The Dodgers announced this week that Vin Scully will return to their broadcast booth in 2015. That will be Scully’s 66th season with the Dodgers. I repeat, 66th season.

We don’t hear Scully so much anymore out this way, not like we did in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when he not only called the Dodgers but would leave Chavez Ravine to do national games for NBC. But his voice is unmistakable for any baseball fan over 40. And his story is irresistible for any baseball fan under 110.

Scully joined the Dodger broadcast crew in 1950, at the age of 22.

Do you know what the Dodgers were like in 1950? What baseball was like in 1950? What sports were like in 1950? Let’s have some fun.

* When Scully joined the Dodgers, baseball had 16 franchises. The farthest west and the farthest south was St. Louis. The Braves were in Boston, the Athletics in Philadelphia, the St. Louis Browns had not moved to Baltimore and the original Washington Senators had not moved to Minnesota and the next-wave Senators had not moved to old Turnpike Stadium between Dallas and Fort Worth.

* The year Scully joined the Dodgers, the Yankees won the World Series with Joe DiMaggio in centerfield. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had not made their major league debuts.

* In 1950, Harry Truman was president. He threw out the first pitch of the Senators’ season opener. Truman actually threw out two pitches. One with each hand. America misses Harry Truman.

* In 1950, the highest-paid Dodger was Jackie Robinson, who was making $35,000. The highest-paid ballplayer anywhere was Ted Williams, who was making $125,000

* In Scully’s first Dodger season, Connie Mack managed the Philadelphia Athletics. Mack was 87 years old in the 1950 season and had managed the A’s for 50 straight years. Mack made his managerial debut in 1894 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mack made his major league playing debut with the Washington Nationals (yes, the Nationals) in 1886. Mack jumped to the Players League in 1890 but went to the Pirates in 1891 and stayed as a player or manager through 1896. Mack’s professional debut came with Meriden of the Connecticut State League in 1884. Which means that either Vin Scully or Connie Mack have been in major league baseball continuously for 129 seasons and in professional baseball continuously for 131 seasons.

* Let me repeat. The man who still is calling Dodger games once called games managed by a man who played professional baseball in 1884.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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