There aren’t enough words to describe the legacy of the great Vin Scully, the legendary longtime Los Angeles Dodgers sportscaster who passed away Tuesday night at 94. In fact, the only person who could maybe describe it would be Scully himself if he weren’t so humble.
The GOAT first began calling Dodger games in 1950, when the team was still in Brooklyn. Then, his voice and face were mainstays at Chavez Ravine for the next 67 years. “It’s time for Dodger baseball” became everyone’s favorite five words each night the Blue Crew played.
Scully was the master at painting with words, each one a stroke of genius. He could set the stage and tell the story. He was witty, relatable and incredibly detail-oriented. He one time turned the mundaneness of baseball reporting into this: “Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day…aren’t we all?”
It was those sorts of remarks that fans were left without when Scully retired after the 2016 season. He called 18 no-hitters, three perfect games and so many more moments in between. You can’t tell the history of MLB without Vin Scully. Here are the 10 greatest calls of his career.
10. A Walk-Off Home Run in His Final Home Game
Memorable line: “Would you believe a home run? The Dodgers have clinched the division and will celebrate on schedule!”
Calling the final home game of his career, Vin Scully got a perfect send-off. Charlie Culberson launched a walk-off home run to clinch the National League West back in 2016. One of the great parts about this call isn’t what Scully said — it’s what he didn’t say. He knew when to shut up and let the moment speak for itself.
9. Vin Scully on Bird Poop
Memorable line: “A pigeon defecated directly on his head.”
Never thought you’d hear “Vin Scully” and “bird poop” in the same sentence, did ya? In 2014, Scully told the story of how bird poop convinced St. Louis Cardinals to stay in college and eventually meet his wife.
8. Vin Scully and the History of Beards
Memorable line: “Did you know the first woman king of Egypt wore a fake beard?”
During his swan song season, Scully taught everyone a history lesson. Not about baseball or anything sports-related, but about facial hair. Who needs the History Channel when you have a man who lived through 11 different presidencies (and has seen quite a bit of beards) to that point?
7. The “4 + 1” Game
Memorable line: “Believe it or not, four consecutive home runs and the Dodgers have tied it up again!”
The Dodgers were down 9-5 to the Padres in the bottom of the ninth in 2006. They then hit four consecutive solo home runs to tie the game before winning it on Nomar Garciaparra’s walk-off shot in the 10th inning, thus giving birth to the “4 + 1” game name. My favorite part is the chuckle Scully lets out after the walk-off, right before he says “unbelievable!” Scully had called so many games before this, but you can tell that one really surprised him.
6. Don Larsen’s Perfect Game
Memorable line: “The greatest game ever pitched in baseball history by Don Larsen.”
There’s only ever been one perfect game in World Series history (or postseason history, for that matter). New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen tossed it agains the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 8, 1956. On the call was a 29-year-old Vin Scully, who told us exactly why it was so monumental. It almost feels like Larsen landed on the moon.
5. Sandy Koufax’s Perfect Game
Memorable line: “It is 9:46 p.m. in the city of the Angles, Los Angeles, California, and a crowd of 29,139 just sitting in to see the only pitcher in baseball history to hurl four no-hit, no-run games.”
Scully called three different perfect games in his career. On September 9, 1965, Sandy Koufax threw his, the fourth of his career, which at the time broke Bob Feller’s career record of three. The whole inning from Scully is just pure magic.
4. Joe Montana to Dwight Clark: “The Catch”
Memorable line: “It’s a madhouse at Candlestick! With 51 second left, Dwight Clark is 6-4. He stands about 10 feet tall in this crowd’s estimation.”
Some don’t remember that Scully also called football games. He called one of the great plays in NFL history, when Joe Montana connected with Dwight Clark for “The Catch” during the 1981 NFC Championship Game.
3. Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run Passes Babe Ruth
Memorable line: “What a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol!”
On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth on baseball’s all-time home run list by taking Dodgers pitcher Al Downing yard. There wasn’t a better person to call the iconic moment than Scully. Again, Scully knows when to remain silent, but he also knows how to describe the moment with context.
2. The Buckner Play
Memorable line: “If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words.”
Ah, yes. The greatest blunder in baseball history — the one that trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series — was called by Scully. Watch Mookie Wilson’s full at-bat to really soak in the greatness that is Vin. The roar of the crowd paired with Scully’s call is just too good.
1. Kirk Gibson’s World Series Heroics
Memorable line: “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!”
Look, there really wasn’t another choice. Rewatching this brought me to tears just like it always does. Kirk Gibson hobbling around the bases after crushing a walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series should be burned in every baseball fan’s memory. The way Scully sets the scene with phrases like “look who’s coming up” and a “roll of the dice” makes what happens look like something straight out of a movie.