Last night, in a rather moving announcement on the Dodger Stadium video board, the Dodgers made it official: Vin Scully, who's 86, will be returning for his 66th season broadcasting games for the team.
Sixty-six years is such a shockingly long amount of time to do any job -- let alone calling 140-plus baseball games a year -- that it's difficult to wrap one's mind around it. Scully called his first game on April 18, 1950, a 9-1 Dodgers loss to Philadelphia at Shibe Park. Robin Roberts got the win; Don Newcombe got the loss; Jackie Robinson got two hits. Scully, who says he doesn't remember anything from that game, called the third and seventh innings as a 22-year-old backup to Red Barber. The first play Scully ever called was a Roy Campanella single up the middle.
While Scully has called games, the world outside has done nothing but change. Here are some of the events that have occurred since April 18, 1950:
* One president (Barack Obama) has been born, eight have died and 11 have held office. On the date of Scully's first game, young actor Ronald Reagan was in fact filming a movie called Bedtime For Bonzo, which featured him co-starring with a chimpanzee.
* Twenty-two different teams have won the World Series. (Scully has called 25 World Series.)
* On April 18, 1950, the NBA was three years old and had the following teams: Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Indianapolis Olympians, Sheboygan Red Skins, Tri-Cities Blackhawks and Anderson Packers. The NFL had 13 teams on that date. The NHL had six.
* On April 18, 1950, the fifth-largest city in the country was Detroit. Baltimore was sixth. Cleveland was seventh. St. Louis was eighth.
* On April 18, 1950, roughly five million Americans owned a television set. Color television would not be introduced until 1951.
* The following movies were released that year: Sunset Boulevard, Born Yesterday, Cinderella, Rashomon and All About Eve, which was nominated for a then-record 13 Academy Awards, winning six. Also in the world of entertainment, Charles Schulz drew his first Peanuts strip.
* Within 10 years of April 18, 1950, the following things would be invented: the cooler, the barcode, the wetsuit, the artificial heart, the radar gun, the lint roller, the laser, the videotape, the sugar packet, artificial turf, the child car seat and Spandex. Five months after Scully's first game, Captain David C. Schilling would become the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean -- from England to Maine -- without stopping. Two months after Scully's first game, the first version of the modern credit card was introduced. This game was almost precisely seven years before Sputnik launched the Space Age.
* The average attendance for a Brooklyn Dodgers game was 15,204. This was the seventh-highest attendance in baseball. The lowest attendance belonged to the St. Louis Browns, who averaged 3,340 fans a game, which is less than the average attendance at Arkansas-Pine Bluff men's college basketball games last season.
* On April 18, 1950, the following Hall of Famers were still alive: Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Tris Speaker, Grover Alexander, Eddie Collins and Rogers Hornsby. Only one current baseball manager had been born. (The Mets' Terry Collins, who was not quite one years old at the time.)
* On April 18, 1950, Bud Selig was a 15-year-old kid watching minor-league games at Borchert Field. Willie Mays was about a month away from graduating from high school. Hank Aaron was 15 and playing in the Negro Leagues.
Vin Scully is going to be back in that booth in 2015, like he was in 2005, and 1995, and 1985, and 1975, and 1965, and 1955. The world outside that booth is chaotic, and mad, and ever-changing. But in that booth, Scully is eternal. The rest of us keep shifting. Scully never does. That booth is the only place that's the same now as it was in 1950. It's no wonder he, and the rest of us, can't help but want to always return there. To never leave.
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