To honor a legendary baseball broadcaster from New York, Fordham University recently transformed the Entertainment Tonight soundstage at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles into the set of the “Vin Scully Show.” The occasion was to present the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers sportscaster with the 2014 “Ram of the Year Award” for his achievements in his professional field and for the many years of support for his alma mater.
“Vin, you are one of our greatest heroes,” said Father Joseph M. McShane, president of Fordham University, the Jesuit-founded New York City school that has developed many journalists and broadcasters along with football player and coach Vince Lombardi.
“From the heart, I want you to know you are for Fordham an example of a man for others, a man whose life has been a life of integrity, of service, of great devotion to the university,” continued Father McShane. “You could not be a better ambassador for us. Everyone at Fordham loves you as much as we revere you.”
A 1949 Fordham graduate, Scully is ready to enter his 65th season as the voice of the Dodgers. He was inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame during 1982, and he has received numerous other accolades, including an honorary degree from Fordham when he delivered the 2000 commencement address.
“It’s great to be in a Fordham atmosphere,” said Scully. “Although this sounds corny, it’s true: I was born in the Bronx, and my mother actually wheeled me in a carriage on the campus. That was years ago. Little did I know, or she, that God would be so kind as to allow me to get into the Prep.”
Baseball And Sportscaster
Following graduation from Fordham Preparatory School, Scully served briefly in the U.S. Navy. Upon returning home, he enrolled at the university. The timing was fortuitous, he said. It allowed him to be at Fordham for the birth of FM radio in New York.
At the school’s radio station, WFUV, Scully honed his winsome voice and now-famous lyrical descriptive style by calling Fordham baseball, basketball and football games. One month before graduation, he found a job with a CBS Radio affiliate in Washington, D.C. One year later, he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He then moved with the team to Los Angeles.
While attending Fordham, Scully played two seasons on the baseball team. He was the Rams’ center fielder in one game against Yale, whose first baseman was George Herbert Walker Bush. Fordham lost the game. Bush and Scully each went hitless.
“Years later,” Scully said, “I’m playing golf with the president, and we eventually got to talking about the game. I said to him, ‘Mr. President, as long as you’re in office, you can say anything you want about your baseball career (he was captain of the team). But remember, the day you walk out of the White House, we both went 0 for 3.’”
Thinking all the way back to his time at the prep school, Scully said that one day he sat in the auditorium next to classmate Larry Miggins.
“We were talking about what we hoped to do when we finished school,” said Scully. “Larry said I’d love to be a major league ballplayer, and I said I’d love to be a major league broadcaster. And we both kind of chuckled.”
Years later, on May 13, 1952, Scully was behind the microphone in the broadcast booth at Ebbets Field when Miggins came to bat for the Cardinals.
“It was so hard to speak. The Dodgers had a left-handed pitcher named Preacher Roe from Ash Flat, Arkansas. Preacher Roe was going to face my buddy Larry Miggins, and I’m going to describe whatever happens,” added Scully. “And Larry Miggins hit a home run.
“You can imagine what an emotional moment it was. First, the shock that the ball was going to go so far, then the realization that it’s a home run and I have to talk about him running around, and it hits me—that back row in the auditorium at Fordham Prep. Somehow it all came to pass.”