Today the Nationals called up their top prospect (probably the most hyped prospect in the baseball history) 19-year old Bryce Harper. He will make his much-anticipated MLB debut tonight against the Dodgers and Hall of Famer Vin Scully will be behind the mic to document this moment in baseball history – just like he has for the past 62 years.
Vin joined the Dodgers in 1950 – one year after graduating from Fordham University. His longevity and love of baseball are unmatched. He has called some of the games greatest moments by its greatest players and today it is only fitting that Vin have the opportunity to call Harper’s first major league game. Who knows what Harper will become, but at least for tonight, Vin Scully can put it all in perspective for us and compare Harper to those that came before him – those that Vin witnessed first hand.
Don Dreysdale, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider, Bob Gibson, Reggie Jackson, Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and now Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, and Albert Pujols. The list can go on and on – he has seen and called it all. Perfect games, world series and even the combination of those when he called Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series. He’s a living legend whose calls are remembered and replayed often – entire innings he has called have been transcribed and studied because of their brilliance. You couldn’t have written the 9th inning to Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965 better than Vin called it if you had all the time in the world – and he did on the spot. Saturday he will see the next phenom and you know he will deliver a memorable description of that first at bat.
Some of my favorite Vin quotes…
“29,000 people and a million butterflies”
“Losing feels worse than winning feels good.”
“It’s a mere moment in a man’s life between the All-Star Game and an old timer’s game.”
“He (Bob Gibson) pitches as though he’s double-parked.”
“Good is not good when better is expected.”
“She is gone! [pause] In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”
“Let’s all take a deep breath as we go to the most dramatic ninth inning (1956 World Series : Don Larsen Perfect Game) in the history of baseball. I’m going to sit back, light up, and hope I don’t chew the cigarette to pieces.”
“He struck out the last six consecutive batters. So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record books, that “K” stands out even more than the O-U-F-A-X.”
And the one I still say to myself every time I walk past the 1st base plaque in the parking lot of Citi Field where this play took place… “There’s a little roller up along first, behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!”
I wasn’t alive then but I get goosebumps whenever I see that play and hear that call. Can’t wait for Vin to make more memorable calls – not just tonight with Harper but all season with a Dodgers team that looks like it’s capable of making 2012 a memorable year for Vin Scully.