On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 3, 2016 # 613 Up next…” It’s Only me!”
After further review… When Vin Scully, Fordham University Class of ’49, returned to give the commencement speech to the Class of 2000, it was the first time he had been on campus since his Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1958. He began his address by telling the candidates for graduation gathered in the Vincent T. Lombardi Field House that “I am not a military man, nor a business guru, nor a philosopher or author. It’s only me.” “Only me!” Ya gotta be kiddin’!
“Red” as he was commonly known because of the bright hue of his neatly combined shock of hair, is leaving his 67-year “post” as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ radio and television announcer. If you missed his final series when his Dodgers visited the San Francisco Giants October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, it was perhaps the greatest of sports broadcaster in history delivering a coda to an incomparable career. Moreover, Vin is one on the finest gentleman the sport of baseball has ever produced. The word iconic does not do justice to the man.
As Sports Illustrated’s writer, Tom Verducci, once wrote, “It is as difficult to imagine baseball without Scully as it is to imagine the game without 90 feet between the bases.” Both, it seems, have been around forever. Summer will never be the same for a stadium full of Dodgers fans listening to him. “Wait a minute!” you shout. “Scully is not the public address announcer!” No, but if you attend a game in Dodger Stadium, you will find thousands of fans clutching their transistor radios or streaming live feeds from their phones, listening to him describe the game they are watching live. His unique style and eloquence, not to be denied, comes from his Latin class at Fordham called Eloquence Perfecta, which speaks for itself.
Scully and I met in the early’60s when I attended games at the new home of the Dodgers in Chavez Revine. One of my lifelong friends, Rollie Seidler, had the good sense to marry Teresa O’Malley, daughter of Walter O’Malley, then owner of the Dodgers. But it was in the mid-70s when Scully and I became closer. CBS invited Scully to do play-by-play for their upcoming NFL games. I was superintendent of schools in Bellflower Unified School District and officiating NFL games on the weekends and Monday Night Football, when Vin called and asked if I would sit down with him to discuss NFL rules and interpretations.
I accepted the honor of working with this great man. We met several times that summer at Dodger Stadium prior to games he was broadcasting. Scully worked some seven seasons in his role as a CBS play-by-play announcer finishing his NFL career with “The Catch” game between the Cowboys and the 49ers, in which I was the Referee. My life is better because of my friendship with Red.
To contact Jim, go to www.jimtunney.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some wonderful stories of great people Jim has met and worked with are in his latest book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now available for $20. which includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested. Contact through above email. Thank You!