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Vin Scully named 2022 Sportscaster of the Year; He died in August at 94; Other notables also identified

SPORTSCASTER OF YEAR – 2022

Vin Scully spent 67 seasons calling Dodgers baseball. He passed last August 2nd at age 94.  

Vin Scully is inarguably sports’ best ever voice. He had the all-around qualities, from humility to perfection and from start to finish. A silky and dulcet tone, Vin’s sound was always wonderful for baseball, a mesmerizing storyteller. Jerry Doggett was Vin’s sidekick for their almost 32 years together. The two men had great respect for one another as friends. Vinny though was to Jerry a prodigy and respected him, albeit he was 11 years younger. Throw anything against the mic and the two men would come through perfectly and synergistically. Jerry knew his place. Vin was a master but never made a big deal of himself. We owe him a prefect sendoff. He died on August 2nd at age 94. 

When the Dodgers first arrived in Los Angeles, they were on KMPC owned by Golden West Broadcasting. The club was about radio. No Dodgers regular season home games were on TV.  Scully later did game shows on TV and general sports talk shows on radio in LA. Later, the NFL on CBS, golf, tennis and more.

We know his story. Born in New York, Scully was a prodigy, identified by Red Barber, a taskmaster who taught him the fundamentals. Vin, freshly graduated from Fordham University, was way ahead of his time. He did his first World Series in 1953 at age 25. While he was shaking in his boots at first, you’d never know it.

He would go on to call Dodgers’ games for 67 amazing years, an MLB record as you would suspect. The American League’s longest has been authored by Denny Matthews of the Royals. He’ll begin his 55th season next spring at age 80 this coming April. Denny was a protégé of Buddy Blattner who helped break him in, in 1969.

Scully was a humble man. He was especially warm to those who just wanted to say hello.

Ten network personalities we miss, who retired relatively recently.

Marv Albert, Don Criqui, Mike Emrick, Tom Hammond, Verne Lundquist, Bill Macatee, Mike Patrick, Tim Ryan, Dick Stockton and Gary Thorn

Will be missed most

Jim Nantz on Final Four. Nantz is too good a guy to respond on my comments ‘that he’ll be badly missed.’ He will. Nantz had to accommodate two analysts, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill which isn’t easy. Moreover, Jim infuses a perfect short story for every occasion. Sounds easy but it isn’t.

Good to hear him on post-season

It was nice to listen to Bob Costas call a palpable number of post season MLB games. Of all voices covering baseball, Bob has an absolute handle on the language of the game, while economizing his words. The man is also ingrained in all facets of what makes baseball fantastic. It seems that the diamond is always on his mind. He has an impassioned love for it. He’ll trigger the memories of many voices, from Mel Allen to Vin Scully, plus other Midwest institutions like Harry Caray.

Sideliner

Lisa SaltersComes quietly and goes quietly. Does NFL, NBA and spends lots of time on the road.

Studio

Ernie Johnson, Jr – Keeps Chuck, Shaq and Kenny in-check. Son of outstanding baseball announcer Ernie Johnson, Sr. who called Braves in both booths, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

NFL Studio and Game Action – flashing from one network to the other

Moving like the unrestrained and the unshackled, popular voices like Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Mike Tirico, Tony Romo and Al Michaels made moves before the 2022 season started. Kirk Herbstreit expanded his questionable wares to the NFL with no experience. His sentences are unnecessarily long. Troy Aikman left Fox for ESPN and partner Buck followed. NBC committed to Tirico which left Michaels with only one hope. So Al had no choice and said yes to Amazon Prime’s Thursday NFL package. Myopically, the Foxies never reached for Uncle Al’s phone number, staying instead in-house with Kevin Burkhardt and Joe Davis for the NFL and MLB. Michaels is considered the best of all the NFLers. So go make sense of the unprecedented merry-go-round.

CBS remained steady on the football field, using Jim Nantz. It was announced recently that Ian Eagle would take over as the lead college basketball announcer, beginning in 2023-24. God bless all of them and their multi-millions in salary. Meanwhile, most of America fusses to push their their kids through decent schools. Don’t worry about Stephen A., Tirico, Tony Romo, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Al Michaels. They are making meaty bucks like $10 million a year. It’s one viscous cycle; rights-holders, broadcast agents, production costs, witty characters, lawyers, extravagant pools and ego. Then there’s TV growth and outrageous craziness. 

America will miss Nantz on the Final Four. It’s been an American tradition like no other. Since 1991, he’s been a class act, doing basketball’s Final Fours.

Sporting events: 75 years ago -1947

You can pit the year. It was when TV was born. The World Series was seen in a few Northeast markets for the first time ever. It wouldn’t be until the early 1950s when large-boxed televisions began flying off the growing shelves. Then Mel Allen owned the baseball and football on NBC.

Sporting events: 50 years ago -1972:

Terrible and tragic: (50 years ago – 1972). NBC dominated sports carriage during the 1970s. Chess  dominated the summer of ’72 (Soviet’s Spassky against the American Bobby Fischer.) Eventually, the Americans won.

The Olympics dominated the headlines when 11 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

The Americans’ basketball team lost the Olympic title game to the Soviets. “We wuz robbed.” The referees blatantly and defiantly ruled the game tendentiously. The officials made blatant calls. Frank Gifford did the play-by-play in Munich for ABC. Bill Russell had the color assignment. Late in that title game. it was a foregone conclusion that the Americans would win. But ABC’s production crew prematurely asked the big guy to leave the broadcast table and head for the locker room to prep for the interviews. Gifford was left on the court alone, and no one to assist him. Frank was challenged. He was a football man, Nuttiness prevailed.

Sporting events: 25  years ago -1997:

Every sport has had its moments on the stage. In 1997, the Miami Marlins captured the World Series, beating the Cleveland Indians. It was Vin’s last one ever, this on radio. From some conversations I has with Vin, I always had a sense that radio was his favorite.

On TV only, in aggregation, they are Joe Buck (24), Tim McCarver (24), Curt Gowdy (12), Mel Allen (11), Vin Scully (11), Joe Garagiola (10), Tony Kubek (8), and Al Michaels (8). 

Costas did it on NBC-TV that year and Joe Buck did the first of his 24 on Fox in 1996.

Sports broadcast deaths in 2022 and most prominent employment 

Mike Bossy – NY Islanders – 65  

Gino Cappalletti – Patriots Radio – 88

John Clayton – ESPN – 67

Len Dawson – HBO – 87

Bill Fitch – NBA Coach –  89

Emile Francis – Occasional NHL voice – 95

Ron Franklin  – ESPN – 79

Hank Goldberg – ESPN – 82

Joe B. Hall – Radio Talk – 93

Dave Herman – NY Jets radio – 81

Fred Hickman – CNN – 68

Bob Lanier – NBA Radio – 73

Dan Reeves – Westwood One – 77

Mike Pratt – U. Kentucky, color – 71

Jim Mueller – Cleve Browns – 79

Bill Russell – ABC – 88

Vin Scully – Dodgers/CBS/NBC – 94

Tony Siragusa – Fox Sports- 55

Dick Versace – Turner – 81

***

Sean McDonough: Skillfully manipulates his vocal cords to underscore each and critical development in the game. The viewer feels it all. There’s a teaching moment for every budding broadcaster. McDonough doesn’t over or underdo it. He’s an absolute perfectionist. The pace and inflection of every sound and tone matches the moment. He has done it all, NHL, College Football, College Basketball and MLB. (Still does it on radio in Boston). In the early 90s, when CBS TV had the World Series, Sean presided over it.

Sideliner of Year Lisa Salters Many years of a comfortable listen.

Improved Voice of the YearJoe Davis – Sounds more confident

These men would have hit 100 this year in, 2022: They’re all deceased:

Dan Daniel (Washington Senators), Gene Elston (Houston Astros), Earl Gillespie (Milwaukee Braves), Bill Grigsby (Kansas City Chiefs), Ralph Kiner (New York Mets), Larry Munson (University of Georgia Football)

Best move: Sixers hire Scott as TVer

Kate Scott is likely the best woman play-by-player in America. She does the 76ers among other ancillary events.

Sixers hire Kate Scott – After Marc Zumoff left on his own volition, Scott comes along from the Bay Area. She’s probably the best woman play-by- player. Truth be told, while she’s gotten a bit better, Lisa Byington might have a warmer smile. But fundamentally she pales to Scott. That’s it. Let’s enjoy the drama of the game.

Worst move: Herbstreit hired by Amazon Prime to do color on NFL. Just yaks too much

Kirk Herbstreit talks till most of the audience is sick to its stomach. He knows his football but enough already. Putting a blabbermouth with inarguably the NFL’s best announcer was shortsighted.

Separated – By their own volition  – locally

Mick Hubert, Joe Starkey, Steve Physioc, Gene Deckerhoff (retired from FSU – remains with Tampa Bay Bucs) and Jaime Jarrin.

Moving on for Steve PhysiocHe has written multiple books and I imagine he will continue authoring many more after he hangs up his mic.

New Addresses – hired

Sean Kelley (U of Florida); Anish Shroff (Carolina Panthers); Jason Horowitz (Vegas Raiders); Jeff Culhane (Florida State)

Separated – by employer 

Brent Musburger (Vegas), Glen Geffner (Miami Marlins) and Dan McLaughlin of St. Louis Cardinals (TV)

Something new – on-air

Announcers including Jim Nantz: “A walk-off, overtime touchdown.” I guess football is picking phrases from baseball

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David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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Michael Green
1 month ago

I was thinking about this. Red Barber said as chief announcer he never hesitated to take back the microphone if he felt he needed to when something happened on the field. Milo Hamilton wanted to call Henry Aaron’s record-breaking home run regardless of whether it was during his usual innings. With Vin, none of that–Jerry’s innings were Jerry’s innings, and it stayed that way with his other partners with the Dodgers. Apropos of that, I think Joe Davis was fine on Dodger broadcasts and not quite sure about some of his network stuff–and I think back to Vin lamenting his… Read more »

Barry Kipnis
1 month ago

Regarding the ’72 Olympic Basketball “robbery” David’s characterization that “late in the game, it was a foregone conclusion that the US would win” is puzzling since the US trailed most of the game and had to stage a furious comeback in the last few minutes culminating with the foul on Doug Collins who sank two free-throws with 3 seconds remaining that seemed to secure the win. It wasn’t just the refs who were at fault (the USSR tried to call a timeout after Collins’ free throws which at the time was not allowed but the refs left stand) – an… Read more »

Michael Green
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Kipnis

Interesting stuff! Your reference to Chris Schenkel is interesting. People forget he was the ABC host, not Jim McKay, and was in the studio much of the time McKay was on during the hostage crisis–but Roone Arledge correctly felt that McKay’s journalism experience would serve everybody well (as I recall, Howard Cosell deeply resented that McKay was doing it). At any rate, that reminds me of something related to my post above–about announcer egos. Schenkel was #1 for ABC on everything. And they ultimately took him off of almost everything but bowling, and he maintained a public silence, so far… Read more »