September 28, 2016


Beyond Baseball, Vin Scully Leaves Behind an Archive of Oddities (RICHARD SANDOMIR, SEPT. 28, 2016, NY Times)

[H]e will also leave behind an archive of oddities -- some of them cataloged and preserved, or only a few clicks away on the internet, and some of them desperately sought -- that reflect an era when no job seemed too small and a lyrical, rhythmic voice honed for radio was really something.

He read a grocery list on air. He hosted a game show. He sang and, by most accounts, sang pretty well.

Of course, an effort is underway to find and preserve the recordings of ballgames, too, with a number of them missing from the early 1950s and 1960s, when preservation was not paramount and it was not clear Scully would become revered. But some of the other jewels are just as coveted, and the missing ones are wistfully recalled by those who heard them or once had them.

Andy Strasberg, a former Padres marketing executive, had an idea that had probably occurred to others: that Scully's distinctive delivery would make the most mundane material compelling.

So one day in 1982, while with Scully in the visitors' broadcast booth at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, he asked, Would you read this grocery list for me?

"Sure, Andy, I'd be happy to," Scully said into the microphone, and he spent the next 48 seconds moving through 31 items, pacing himself as if he had rehearsed, never stumbling, and pausing ever so dramatically when he said, "Pickles -- kosher, that is." And if you were familiar with Scully's commercials for Farmer John hot dogs, as Strasberg was, you heard a hint of jauntiness when Scully said, "Bologna."

Strasberg played the Scully grocery list on his radio show soon after and reintroduced it to the internet this year. Asked if he had cajoled the accommodating Scully to record anything else, he admitted that he had: Scully read off the label of an aspirin bottle.

"I'm looking at that cassette tape right now," Strasberg said during a telephone interview last week. But when he played it, he found that the recording was no longer there, lost like a radio broadcast from the 1950s.

"I recorded over the aspirin bottle with a Tim Lollar interview," Strasberg said. "I'm heartbroken."

On YouTube, where many of Scully's classic baseball calls reside, you can also find remnants of a short-term job from the 1969-70 television season, when he hosted "It Takes Two," a game show that featured celebrity couples answering questions like "how old was the oldest dog?"

..consisting of nothing but Vin's broadcasts?

Posted by at September 28, 2016 4:21 PM