Dodgers’ Vin Scully talks legendary career, lucky break at WTOP Radio

LOS ANGELES - APRIL 13:  Dodgers broadcaster Vin Skully gives the call of "It's time for Dodger baseball!" during pregame ceremonies for the Los Angeles Dodgers home opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 13, 2009 at Dodger Stadiium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Skully gives the call of “It’s time for Dodger baseball!” during pregame ceremonies for the Los Angeles Dodgers home opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 13, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Vin Scully talks to a well-wisher in his booth at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010. Scully will return to the broadcast booth to call Los Angeles Dodgers games next year for his 62nd season. The team said Sunday that the 82-year-old Hall-of-Famer will call all home games and road games against National League West opponents. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Vin Scully talks to a well-wisher in his booth at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A Los Angeles Dodgers fan listens to announcer Vin Scully on a radio while attending a baseball game at Dodger Stadium against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, August 4, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Fans often prefer the sound of Scully’s voice calling games, even when they’re in the stadium. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Vin Scully the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers sings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" song, which has become the unofficial anthem of baseball, during the seventh inning of the baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Vin Scully the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” song, which has become the unofficial anthem of baseball, during the seventh inning of the baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Vin Scully
Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully sits in his booth during the third inning of a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Actor James Garner is shown at Dodgers Stadium where approximately 5000 fans entered to see the celebrities of the television and motion picture world go against some of big-league baseball’s greats in a regulation softball game, Oct. 6, 1967, Los Angeles, Calif. Televised and narrated by Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers, this mis-match will feature such sport regulars as Willie Mays, Harmon Killebrew, and Don Drysdale. (AP Photo)
In 1967, Vin Scully called a softball game at Dodgers Stadium between big-league All-Stars and celebrities. Actor James Garner, pictured, was one of those celebs, who played in front of 5000 fans. The game also featured such sport regulars as Willie Mays, Harmon Killebrew, and Don Drysdale. (AP Photo)

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, second from right, is honored, with his wife Sandi Scuilly, and sons Kevin and Todd Scully, far left, before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Vin Scully was given a Guinness World Records certificate for the longest career as a sports broadcaster for a single team. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Vin Scully stands with his family as he’s given a Guinness World Records certificate for the longest career as a sports broadcaster for a single team before a game against the Diamondbacks in September. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Darryl Strawberry, left, with daughter Diamond, 2 yrs., is greeted by Dodgers announcer and baseball Hall of Famer Vin Scully, Thursday, Feb. 14, 1991 in Los Angeles. Strawberry was on hand at Crenshaw High School, his alma mater, for a salute in his honor that welcomed him back to L.A. after signing a multimillion dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AP Photo/Julie Markes)
Darryl Strawberry, left, with daughter Diamond, 2 yrs., is greeted by Dodgers announcer and baseball Hall of Famer Vin Scully, Thursday, Feb. 14, 1991 in Los Angeles. Strawberry was on hand at Crenshaw High School, his alma mater, for a salute in his honor that welcomed him back to L.A. after signing a multimillion dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AP Photo/Julie Markes)

President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan are surrounded by Hollywood friends, Dec. 1, 1985 in Burbank, Calif., after the taping of a CBS-TV special honoring the president titled "All-Star Party For Dutch Reagan". Seated, from left: Maureen Reagan, the president, Mrs. Reagan and Michael Reagan. Standing, from left: Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Eydie Gorme, Vin Scully, Steve Lawrence, and Paul Keys. (AP Photo/Scott Stewart)
Vin Scully joins President Ronald Reagan, first lady Nancy Reagan and celebrities in 1985 after the taping of a CBS-TV special honoring the president titled “All-Star Party For Dutch Reagan”. Standing, from left: Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Eydie Gorme, Scully, Steve Lawrence, and Paul Keys  Seated, from left: Maureen Reagan, the president, Mrs. Reagan and Michael Reagan. (AP Photo/Scott Stewart)

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, left, wife Jamie, and Vin Scully, second from left, with wife Sandra, pose for photos next to a plaque honoring Scully before the start of an exhibition baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, Saturday, March 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles. The exhibition contest is part of the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers' move west from Brooklyn and is expected to draw a record crowd of over 115,000. (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, left, wife Jamie, and Vin Scully, second from left, with wife Sandra, pose for photos next to a plaque honoring Scully before the start of an exhibition baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox in 2008, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)

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LOS ANGELES - APRIL 13:  Dodgers broadcaster Vin Skully gives the call of "It's time for Dodger baseball!" during pregame ceremonies for the Los Angeles Dodgers home opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 13, 2009 at Dodger Stadiium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Vin Scully talks to a well-wisher in his booth at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010. Scully will return to the broadcast booth to call Los Angeles Dodgers games next year for his 62nd season. The team said Sunday that the 82-year-old Hall-of-Famer will call all home games and road games against National League West opponents. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A Los Angeles Dodgers fan listens to announcer Vin Scully on a radio while attending a baseball game at Dodger Stadium against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, August 4, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Vin Scully the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers sings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" song, which has become the unofficial anthem of baseball, during the seventh inning of the baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Vin Scully
Actor James Garner is shown at Dodgers Stadium where approximately 5000 fans entered to see the celebrities of the television and motion picture world go against some of big-league baseball’s greats in a regulation softball game, Oct. 6, 1967, Los Angeles, Calif. Televised and narrated by Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers, this mis-match will feature such sport regulars as Willie Mays, Harmon Killebrew, and Don Drysdale. (AP Photo)
Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, second from right, is honored, with his wife Sandi Scuilly, and sons Kevin and Todd Scully, far left, before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Vin Scully was given a Guinness World Records certificate for the longest career as a sports broadcaster for a single team. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Darryl Strawberry, left, with daughter Diamond, 2 yrs., is greeted by Dodgers announcer and baseball Hall of Famer Vin Scully, Thursday, Feb. 14, 1991 in Los Angeles. Strawberry was on hand at Crenshaw High School, his alma mater, for a salute in his honor that welcomed him back to L.A. after signing a multimillion dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AP Photo/Julie Markes)
President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan are surrounded by Hollywood friends, Dec. 1, 1985 in Burbank, Calif., after the taping of a CBS-TV special honoring the president titled "All-Star Party For Dutch Reagan". Seated, from left: Maureen Reagan, the president, Mrs. Reagan and Michael Reagan. Standing, from left: Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Eydie Gorme, Vin Scully, Steve Lawrence, and Paul Keys. (AP Photo/Scott Stewart)
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, left, wife Jamie, and Vin Scully, second from left, with wife Sandra, pose for photos next to a plaque honoring Scully before the start of an exhibition baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, Saturday, March 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles. The exhibition contest is part of the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers' move west from Brooklyn and is expected to draw a record crowd of over 115,000. (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)

Editor’s Note: This story was originally written in October 2015. Scully hangs up his broadcaster’s hat Sunday after 67 years with the Dodgers, but it was WTOP that gave him his big break in 1949.

Vin Scully spoke to WTOP about how he got his start in radio here in D.C. (Andrew Mollenbeck, WTOP)

LOS ANGELES — In Southern California, he’s called the “Soundtrack of Summer,” in part because most people have never lived a summer without Vin Scully behind the microphone.

For the last 66 years, Scully has been the voice of the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles. But the team will have to carry on without its cherished announcer this postseason.

Scully, who will be 88 in November, was hospitalized Thursday and told by doctors to stay home during the playoffs in order to rest.

WTOP spoke with the legend recently about his long career.

His baritone voice and welcoming, congenial delivery has become familiar across the country. Scully has called 25 World Series, National Football League games, golf tournaments (including the Masters) and even some tennis.

His storied career earned him a spot in the broadcast side of baseball’s Hall of Fame — 33 years ago.

Unexpectedly, to him anyway, that unparalleled career began with an offer to work at WTOP.

“I was shocked because it was actually the one station I was not going to send a letter to,” Scully told WTOP before a recent game at Dodger Stadium.

“I said, ‘WTOP, no, that’s 50,000 watts,'” he recalls.

“It’ll only cost you another 3-cent stamp,” the lady typing his letters told him.

Long shot as it may have seemed to the then-college student, he heard back from the station, with a request that he show up in person.

He went in to audition, and a couple days later he was offered a job.

Scully started at WTOP in May of 1949, a month before he would finish school at Fordham University in New York.

He had to miss some work to go back to take his exams.

“By the time I took the exams, I owed the staff a ton of hours, and there were many a day where I’d open at 5 a.m. and close at 1 a.m.,” he said.

He was a pinch hitter of sorts at WTOP, filling shifts for various full-time staff on vacation.

In his own words: Working at WTOP (Vin Scully)

The one job he never got was covering for the two men who were the presidential announcers. As Scully remembers it, one was always at the ready to introduce the president.

Like so many young, poor Washingtonians after him, Scully caught a break at an hors d’oeuvres party.

At the time, he lived in an “animal house,” sleeping on a couch in a heavy coat. But shortly after arriving, he went to a British Embassy party.

While there, he met a woman who was headed back across the pond to marry a man in the Royal Air Force.

She was looking for a house sitter.

“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, yeah!'” he recalls. ” ‘I don’t know anybody, so there won’t be any parties.’ ”

In his own words: Living in Georgetown (Vin Scully)

So he moved into the home at 29th and O streets in Georgetown, right across from Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

“That was a high-rent district for a kid right out of college,” he says.

Before leaving WTOP, he wanted to thank the staff. So he invited them to the three-story federal home he was watching.

“When the car would pull up with members of the staff, they were totally shocked,” he says, chuckling. “I got away with that once, anyway.”

He spent only a few months with the station. The next year he was hired by the Dodgers, where he worked in the booth along side Red Barber and Connie Desmond.

In his own words: Bryce Harper having to shave his beard (Vin Scully)
Bryce Harper
Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper, just two days after being injured crashing into an outfield wall, taking 11 stitches in his chin, is seen in the dugout after pinch-hitting in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles Wednesday, May 15, 2013. The Dodgers won, 3-1. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

 

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