Monday, October 05, 2009

Vin Scully, on His Managerial Career

Ron Fairly congratulates Sandy Koufax after Koufax's perfect game in 1965.

Joe Torre named Brad Ausmus the manager for yesterday's game, which inspired Vin Scully to recall another wonderful story:

If you don't mind me reminiscing, thinking about Brad Ausmus being the manager. I actually managed the Dodgers during a game.

The pitch is off the plate.

Walter Alston was the manager of the Dodgers and we were playing a game right here at Dodger Stadium, and we used to have a headset in the dugout for interviews and also, when you got in a tough pennant race, guys liked to hear scores of other games.

One-one pitch and that's a strike, one and two.

Anyway, it was like today, many years ago, about 1965, and the phone rang in the booth and it was Walter Alston. And he said, "Look, I'm going to wear the headset, and you manage."

And we were on the phone during a commercial break.

I said, "You're kidding."

He said, "No, I want you to manage."

I said, "All right."

He said, "The only thing, you gotta be quick."

I said, "Well, I'll try."

Two and two the count to A.J. Ellis.

Ron Fairly was the runner at first base and Ron had consumed a bit of champagne the night before, during the celebration. 'Cause in those days, you won the pennant, it was really a big deal.

That's a drive into center for a base hit, so Ellis will pick up a run batted in as he picks up Casey Blake, and the Dodgers lead four to nothing, and maybe this isn't a bad time to talk about my managerial experience.

They get the ball now for A.J. Ellis, his first big-league hit and run batted in, so it's a big day for him.

Anyway, to get back to me [laughs] — that's a terrible way to put it, but I think you'll understand.

Here is Vicente Padilla.

So anyway, Fairly got to first base, and now I know that Alston is listening, and so is the crowd. In those days, everybody had transistor radios.

And the pitch is ball one.

So I said, on the air, "You know, I hate to do this to my friend Fairly, and I know he's not feeling well, he's full of champagne, but — I want him going."

And so — here's the one-oh pitch. Fouled back.

And Alston flashed the sign, and the crowd now is into the game, and they see Fairly take the greatest double-take you ever saw, looking in to the manager as if to say, "Are you kidding? The day after we won the pennant, you're going to run me?"

And so he started to run. The pitch was fouled off.

One ball and one strike the count, next one's outside. Two balls, one strike.

And now again talking to the crowd, and I said, "You know, I just hate to do this, but Walter Alston has always taught me: If it's a good play, come right back with it."

Well, Alston again flashes to Fairly: I want you to go.

Pitch is inside, ball three.

And Fairly now absolutely can't believe it. But, like a good soldier, he follows orders.

He takes off, the pitch is in the dirt, it gets away from the catcher, and Fairly collapses at second base with a stolen base.

The pitch to Padilla a strike. Three and two.

Now I'm looking to get off the stage. I mean, that's enough.

So then I said, "Alston, I got you this far. The rest of the game you're on your own."

And Fairly was at second base.

So my one moment as a manager in the big leagues.

Runners go, three-two pitch swung on and missed, got the story in just in time. And for the Dodgers, they pick up a big four. And at the end of an inning, Dodgers four, Rockies nothing.


Steve Jones said...

This is why he is so beloved. Vin Scully is the last of a true breed of baseball fan. With him leaving the booth and headed for the golf course, the Dodgers and their fans will be scratching their heads, wondering why the game seems so long and un-eventful. Vinny makes the most drab, sorrowful and dismill times seem almost electric. Why you ask? Simple, he tells us stories. He keeps the time moving and our minds focused on what he will tell us next. Bottom line, Vin is the last "GREAT" in Baseball!

Neeebs (The Original) said...

I was listening to this "live" in the car, and was so captivated on the story, I didn't care about the "call" of the game at that time.

Fred's Brim said...

me too - I was worried that the inning would end before he could finish it, but Padilla kept his AB alive just long enough :)

Kyle Baker said...

I was listening to it and commenting on SoSG...Orel and I were both admiring it as it was happening, knowing it would be an "instant classic," if there can be such a thing (and with Vinny, there can). I had Tivo'd the game and went back and listened to this part 3 separate times, just to make sure I soaked it all in.

Kyle Baker said...

BTW, thanks for memorializing this, Orel.

Austin Jennings said...

For some reasony my previous post wouldn't link correctly. Anyway, here is a great story about Vin Scully from 1964.


(I had to post it on separate lines otherwise it wouldn't show the full link)

King Kaufman said...

I once saw a video of him telling this story at a banquet. He starts a little earlier. Fairly had been told by Alston to go ahead and drink because he wasn't going to play that next day, but then for some reason he ended up having to. My favorite part of the story is when Scully describes Fairly getting on base in the first place, with a walk. He says, "He didn't walk to first base. He *sloshed* to first base."

Orel said...

Vin could make a fortune on the banquet circuit.