Sandomir: Beyond baseball, Vin Scully leaves behind an archive of oddities

From Richard Sandomir at the New York Times on September 28, 2016, with mention of SABR member Andy Strasberg:

In 2005, a pizza-size recording disc was discovered in the archives of WFUV, the Fordham University radio station. With no equipment old enough to play it, the disc had to be transferred to a CD or a cassette tape to yield what lay within its old grooves.

It was the voice of Vin Scully, then a 21-year-old senior and sportscaster at the college in the Bronx, narrating a 15-minute Easter play that was performed by a group of campus actors.

“It was obviously Vin, very young, and about halfway through this thing, I realize the role he’s playing,” said Bob Ahrens, the executive sports producer of WFUV. “He’s playing the voice of God. How prophetic! He was never identified as God, but you realized who he was playing.”

For now, what might be the oldest known recording of Scully will remain in Ahrens’s memory. He has not seen or heard it for four or five years and has been searching for it in anticipation of Scully’s retirement Sunday after 67 seasons as the voice of the Dodgers, in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

“I put it in a safe place,” Ahrens said. “And it’s still in that safe place.”

The last days and weeks of Scully’s unmatched tenure in sports broadcasting have brought him wide acclaim as the greatest baseball announcer ever, with many of his famous calls replayed.

But he 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.

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Originally published: September 28, 2016. Last Updated: September 28, 2016.