The team said Hall of Fame announcer Finn Scully, whose subtle tunes provided the soundtrack for summer while entertaining and informing Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night. He was 94 years old.
“We’ve lost an icon,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. “Fin Scully was one of the greatest voices in all of sports. He was a giant man, not just as an announcer, but as a human being. He loved people. He loved life. He loved baseball and the Dodgers. He loved his family. His voice will always be heard and etched in our minds forever.” I know he was looking forward to joining the love of his life, Sandy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time. We will truly miss Finn.”
Scully died at his home in the Hidden Hills section of Los Angeles, according to the team that spoke to family members. The cause of death was not mentioned.
“Today we are heartening the loss of a legend in our game,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Vin was an extraordinary man whose talent has brought delight to generations of Dodger fans. In addition, his voice has played an unforgettable role in some of the greatest moments in the history of our sport. I am proud that Vin has been synonymous with baseball because he has embodied the best of our national pastime. He was a broadcaster, he was great as a person.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, my deepest condolences go to Finn’s family, friends, Dodger fans, and fans everywhere.”
As the longest-serving announcer with a single team in the history of professional sports, Scully saw it all and described it all. He started in the 1950s with Bee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, into the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Kovacs, in the 1970s with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, and through the 1980s with Uriel Hirscher and Fernando Valenzuela. In the 1990s, Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo were followed by Clayton Kershawand Manny Ramirez and Yacel Puig in the twenty-first century.
“It was the best ever,” Kershaw said after Tuesday night’s Dodgers game in San Francisco. “Just when you think of the Dodgers, there’s a lot of history here and a lot of people showing up. It’s just a storied franchise all the way up. But it almost starts with Vin, honestly.”
“Just such a special man. I am thankful and grateful that I got to know him as well as I did.”
twitter Puig: “You gave me the name Wild Horse. You gave me love. You hugged me like a father. I’ll never forget you, my heart is broken.”
The Dodgers have changed players, directors, CEOs, owners — and even coasters — but Scully and his relaxed and insightful style have stayed true to fans.
The broadcast opened with a familiar greeting, “Hello everyone, and good evening to you wherever you are.”
Scully, whom he respected in person and on air, considered himself merely a channel of communication between the game and the fans.
After the Dodgers’ 9-5 victory in San Francisco at Oracle Park – where in October 2016 Scully broadcast the final game of his career – a tribute was shown on the video board.
The fans of both teams stopped and applauded for Scully before leaving.
“There is no better narrator and I think everyone considers him family,” said Dodgers director Dave Roberts. “He’s been in our living rooms for many generations. He’s lived a wonderful life, a legacy that will live on forever.”
Although he was paid by the Dodgers, Scully wasn’t afraid to criticize poor play, a manager’s decision, or praise an opponent while spinning stories against the backdrop of routine plays and noteworthy accomplishments. He always said he wanted to see things with his eyes, not his heart.
“He had a voice and a way of telling stories that made you think he was just talking to you,” former Lakers great Magic Johnson, a Dodgers co-owner, chirp. “Fin was the sweetest, sweetest guy outside the booth and was loved by all the Dodgers.”
Jaime Garin, the voice of the Spanish Dodgers and Hall of Fame announcer, mourned the loss of his counterpart, writing on Twitter: “We have lost the greatest historian of baseball and any other sport. I lost the architect of the game. My career, beloved friend: Finn Scully. I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts together now. All I can say is rest in peace, we will see each other again soon.”
Vincent Edward Scully was born on November 29, 1927 in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk seller who died of pneumonia when Scully was seven years old. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where red-haired and blue-eyed Scully grew up playing stickball in the streets.
As a child, Scully would grab a pillow and put it under the four-legged family radio and put his head directly under the loudspeaker to hear any college football game being televised. With a snack of pretzels and a glass of milk nearby, the boy was stunned by the goosebumps’ roar. He thought he would like to call the act himself.
Scully, who played off the field for two years on the Fordham baseball team and served briefly in the US Navy, began his career by working in baseball, football and basketball games for a university radio station.
At the age of 22, he was hired by a CBS broadcasting company in Washington. He soon joined Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond on the radio and television booths of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1953, at the age of 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Championship match, a feat that still stands.
Scully moved west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully called three perfect games—playing Don Larsen in the 1956 World Championships, Kovacs in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991—and 20 games.
He was also on the air when Drysdale put his point-free inning streak out of 58⅔ innings in 1968 and again when Hirscher broke the record with 59 consecutive goalless runs 20 years later.
When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, it was against the Dodgers, and of course, Scully shot him.
“A black man gets a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking an all-time baseball record,” Scully told listeners. “What a great baseball moment.”
Scully was credited with the birth of the transistor radio as the “greatest single break” of his career. Fans had a hard time recognizing the underdogs during the Dodgers’ first four years at the vast Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“They were an odd 70 rows or so away from the action,” he said in 2016. “They brought in the radio to find out more about all the other players and to see what they were trying to see on the field.”
This custom passed when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans wore radios to their ears, and those not around listened from home or the car, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words.
He often said that it’s best to describe a big play quickly and then calm down so fans can hear the hoopla. After Kovacs’ perfect match in 1965, Scully was silent for 38 seconds before speaking again. He was similarly silent for a while after running Kirk Gibson at home to win the first game of the 1988 World Championships.
Scully was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that year, and the stadium’s press fund was named after him in 2001. The street to the main gate of Dodger Stadium was named in his honor in 2016.
In the same year, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
“God has been good to me for letting me do what I do,” said Scully, a devout Catholic who attended Mass on Sunday before heading to the stadium, before retiring. “My childhood dream came true and then he gave me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. It’s a very big Thanksgiving day for me.”
In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully has called play-by-play for NFL games and PGA Tour events as well as called up 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was the major baseball announcer for NBC from 1983 to 1989.
Scully also received the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, which recognizes achievements and contributions of historical significance, in 2014. He became the second player not to receive the award, joining Rachel Robinson.
While Scully was one of the country’s most popular broadcasters, he was a very private man. Once baseball season is over, it will be gone. He rarely made personal appearances or sports talk shows and preferred spending time with his family.
In 1972, his first wife, Joan, died of a drug overdose. He was left with three young children. Two years later, he met the woman who would become his second wife, Sandra, the secretary of the Los Angeles Rams. She had two young children from a previous marriage, and they brought their families together in what Scully once called “My Brady Bunch.”
He said that he realized that time was the most valuable thing in the world and that he wanted to use his time to spend with his loved ones. In the early 1960s, Scully quit smoking with the help of his family. In the shirt pocket where he kept a pack of cigarettes, Scully hung a family photo. Whenever he felt he needed a smoke, he pulled out the photo to remind him of why he quit. Eight months later, Scully never smoked again.
After retiring in 2016, Scully made a few appearances at Dodger Stadium and his sweet voice was heard telling the occasional video clip during matches. Mostly, he was content to stay close to home.
“I just want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man, someone who fulfills his own beliefs,” he said in 2016.
In 2020, Scully auctioned years of his personal memorabilia, which raised more than $2 million. A portion of it was donated to UCLA for ALS research.
He was preceded by Sandra, who died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the age of 76 in 2021. The 47-year-old married and had a daughter, Catherine, together.
Scully’s other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd, and Kevin. His son Michael died in a helicopter crash in 1994.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.