• John Burghardt

“Baseball?!” “Sounds of the Game?!” “But are you hearing Voices?!”

I love the game of baseball! I loved playing as a kid! I loved to watch the game at Yankee Stadium in da Bronx where I grew up! I could’ve watched baseball on television all day long if given the chance! And as much as I love all these memories, I really enjoyed listening to games on the radio! Yep, listening to the game was a thing and I still do enjoy listening when I can.

Who were some of the voices that made the game come alive as I listened? The most memorable for me was the trio of Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer and Bill White who were the mainstay voices for the N. Y. Yankees during the 1970’s and 1980’s. During the course of these (2) decades they called the game on WPIX TV as well as the radio by way of WMCA,WINS & WABC; a broadcasting rarity if at all today. What a “Fun” bunch! In fact, Phil “Scooter “ Rizzuto was asked to deliver a play by play “voice over” with his signature style, by the producers of one of the greatest albums of all time. The album was ”Bat Out of Hell”! The artist was “Meatloaf”! The hit single that Scooter appears on was “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”!

As I listened to the LA Dodgers win the 2020 World Series in Game (6), announcer Charlie Steiner reminisced with a most memorable quote from a legend of broadcasting Vin Scully.

Scully’s quote:

"In a year that has been so improbable the impossible has happened!"

Scully’s quote came after Kirk Gibson hit one of the most “improbable” pinch hit, walk off Home Runs, crowning the LA Dodgers the 1988 World Series Champions. Why Improbable? Because Gibson was not expected to make a plate appearance due to injuries in both knees.

Although I only got to hear Vin Scully’s play by play on NBC’s Saturday Game of the Week, he is still an inspiration to me. Scully is a Bronx native like myself. He fell in love with baseball as a young boy. As a young man he worked delivering beer and mail, pushing garment racks and cleaning silver in the basement of the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City. While attending his Alma Mater, Fordham University in da Bronx, he helped found its FM radio station WFUV. At the age of (23), Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game (a record that still stands to this day). Amidst all of his many achievements, he is best known for his (67) seasons calling games for the LA Dodgers beginning in 1950 (when the franchise was located in Brooklyn, N.Y.) and ending in 2016.

I hope we all get to experience the impossible in a year as improbable as 2020 has been! Thank you Vin Scully!

Who are the voices in your head that make this wonderful game come alive?