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Monday, April 25, 2016

Best Thing I've Read Today

Gregory Orfalea on the greatest baseball announcer in history, Vin Scully -- who (at 88, after 67 years calling Dodgers games) will retire after this season:

[Kurt] Gibson’s gimpy homer has been voted the greatest sports moment in Los Angeles history, but it wasn’t Vin’s, by his own reckoning. His was not of a Dodger at all; in fact, it took place during a Dodger loss. It was the middle of Watergate, April 8, 1974, almost four months to the day before Richard Nixon would resign the presidency. Henry Aaron was at the plate, tied with Babe Ruth for the all-time record in home runs (714), facing the Dodgers’ Al Downing. Aaron took the first pitch, low, below his knees. And then: “Fastball, high drive to deep left center field. Buckner goes back, to the fence—it is GAWN!” Scully later recounted that he took the headphones off, went to the water cooler for a drink, and let the crowd’s ecstasy and fireworks fill the nation’s ears. “Scully made his greatest contribution by saying nothing, thank you,” he told a benefit audience honoring him in February 2016. But that is not true. Here’s a condensation of what he said when he returned to the mike:

"What a marvelous moment for baseball, what a marvelous moment for Atlanta, for the country and the world! A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South. And it is a great moment for all of us, but particularly for Henry Aaron who is met at home plate not only by every member of the Braves, but by his father and his mother, who came running across the grass, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him for all she was worth. As Aaron circled the bases, the Dodgers on the infield shook his hand. And for the first time in a long time that poker face of Aaron’s shows the tremendous strain and relief of the past seven months. It is over, at 10 minutes after nine o’clock in Atlanta, Georgia. Henry Aaron has eclipsed Babe Ruth. You could not get two more opposite men—the Babe, big and garrulous, oh so sociable, immense in all his appetites—and then the quiet lad out of Mobile, Alabama, slender. Ruth, as he put on the pounds and the paunch, the Yankees put their ball players in pin striped uniforms because it made Ruth look slimmer. But they didn’t need pin stripes for Henry Aaron. And now you can hear Georgia around the world."
Read Orfalea's full piece here.