Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vin Scully, on Outfield Walls

Vin Scully, after Torii Hunter made a great catch of Matt Kemp's deep fly ball (top photo) in the fourth inning of today's game:

Torii Hunter, reaching up, hitting the wall and down he goes.

You know the greatest catch I ever saw? It was made by Willie Mays in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, with the bases loaded, two out, bottom of the ninth inning. And a Dodger third baseman named Bobby Morgan hit a line drive into left-center field.

Now at Ebbets Field, the wall was not padded, as it is here. It was concrete. And instead of a rubberized warning track, it was gravel.

And Mays, running as hard as he could, hit the gravel, was fully extended, his body parallel to the ground, and he caught the ball. But when he hit the gravel, he bounced head-first to the base of the wall and knocked himself out. Rolled over on his back.

And then the left fielder, Henry Thompson, came over, reached down into Mays' glove and held it up in the air and that was the final out of the game.

Well, Torii Hunter hits the pads and really takes a jolt. He did not need Rivera to hold the ball up. He did, and now being assisted. Boy has he shown why he has eight Gold Gloves. He is a magnificent outfielder.

And of course, running full-tilt, fully extended as he was, even though it is padded, it doesn't help.

If I remember correctly, when they first built Dodger Stadium, the idea of those cutouts—as can you see, it's not a solid wall, it's a series of pads, and he's going to hit it right there, face first—but as I understood it, those pads were supposed to give. And so you would go all the way through.

But they don't give, he hit and bounced off. Probably hurt his neck and his chest. Gee, what a great play.

UPDATE: Via CBS Sports, here's audio of Vin telling the same story in 2013.

Hunter photo by Gus Ruelas/AP

2 comments:

Penos Cabell said...

I don't know how Vin remembers all that stuff. I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning.

Dr. Geek said...

That's why he makes the big bucks.