Vin Scully made his pro broadcasting debut calling college football from the Fenway Park roof
Fans see legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully as their adoptive baseball grandfather: Always there, always relaying stories about Frank Sinatra and Ebbets Field to accompany his artful play-by-play work, or educating viewers on the details of the Allied invasion of Normandy between pitches from Clayton Kershaw.
If it seems like Scully has been at it a long time, it's because he has been. The 87-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster first joined the Dodgers way back in 1950. But that baseball gig -- and the incredible figure that Scully grew into -- was born out of a one-off chance to make his professional play-by-play debut at Fenway Park ... calling a college football game.
Vin Scully made his pro play by play debut at Fenway Park in 1949... Doing a Boston U-Maryland FOOTBALL game. Stuff u learn while prepping!- Dan Hicks (@DanHicksNBC) November 19, 2015
Hicks, the voice of Fighting Irish football, was getting ready to call the Notre Dame-Boston College game at Fenway Park this weekend when he learned about Scully's broadcaster origin story. It goes like this: Scully had recently graduated from Fordham and been lucky enough to have met Red Barber, the then voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Barber also hosted a college football roundup show for CBS Radio and, when he needed a fill-in for one of his broadcasters, gave Scully a call.
So, Scully showed up to Fenway Park on Nov. 16, 1949 to call the Boston U-Maryland game. A Los Angeles Times report reminds us that there was just one problem that day:
From. The. Roof. Vin Scully -- the Vin Scully, the three-time National Sportscaster of the Year who has called 20 no-hitters and holds the record for most World Series broadcasts -- made his professional broadcasting debut calling a college football game at Fenway Park ... from the roof ... in November ... with no hat or gloves.
If you told us he had to walk to Fenway that day through three feet of snow, uphill both ways, we'd probably believe it at this point.
Of course, Scully did an adequate job that day and, considering the conditions, impressed Barber. So, when Ernie Harwell left the Dodgers booth to call games for the New York Giants, Barber remembered Scully and brought the 22-year-old on board. The rest, as they say, is history.