LOS ANGELES -- There are so many marvelous Vin Scully stories, of course. Too many. Everyone in and around baseball has one. You wander around Los Angeles on Wednesday, the day that Vin Scully returned to Dodger Stadium to be inducted into the Dodgers' Ring of Honor, and you hear about this bit of kindness or that unforgettable call or simply how that voice, that glorious voice, marked the years of their lives.
Or maybe you prefer a favorite story of Giants announcer Dave Flemming, who, at some point in the past few years, went into the bathroom before a Giants-Dodgers game. The only person in the bathroom was Vin Scully.
"Hi Dave," Scully said in that perfect baseball voice. "Pull up a urinal!"
• Cut4: Vin back in LA, delivers classic phrases
But there were two other stories I heard on Wednesday, two beautiful stories, that maybe begin to explain the wonder that is Vin Scully. Mike Krukow grew up just a few miles away from Dodger Stadium. He, like so many millions, grew up on the voice of Vin Scully. When Krukow was a kid, he and his friends used to dream of hearing Vin say their name on the radio, just one time.
That -- hearing Vin say those words "Mike Krukow" -- would mean that he made it. In 1977, Krukow was a rookie for the Cubs, and in June, he started his first game at Dodger Stadium. It was a Friday night -- Krukow remembers the Dodgers giving away bats -- and there were more than 50,000 people in the stands. There were people everywhere, to the top of the third deck, and Krukow took the mound.
And then he heard it. See, among the many unique aspects of Vin Scully's career is this: His storytelling inspired tens of thousands of people every game to bring transistor radios with them. There were so many radios at Dodgers games that one time Scully tried an experiment -- he asked the fans to serenade umpire Frank Secory on his birthday. He asked, and suddenly he heard it all over the park:
"Happy birthday to you ..."
When Krukow stepped on the rubber that day in 1977, he heard something entirely unexpected. From all over the park, he heard those radios. And he heard Vin Scully, that voice, raining down on him: "Pitching for the Cubs today is Mike Krukow, who grew up just up the road in Long Beach."
"Can you imagine?" Krukow said. "The voice of God calling my name."
The second story goes back even further, to those early years just after Scully and the Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958. Think of all the things he's seen over almost 60 years. Think of the players Scully has seen here ... no, too broad, think of the pitchers he's seen here ... no, again, too broad, think only of the Dodgers left-handed pitchers he's seen here: Sandy Koufax to Tommy John to Fernando Valenzuela to Clayton Kershaw.
"All those numbers," Scully said Wednesday as he looked up at the uniforms numbers in the Ring of Honor … and a microphone for him. "I see faces. I hear voices."
In 1959, a 23-year-old man from Ecuador named Jaime Jarrin began broadcasting for the Dodgers in Spanish. Jarrin had never seen a baseball game before he came to America a few years earlier. But the Dodgers wanted to reach out to the Latino community and they liked Jarrin. They asked him to learn the game quickly. And he did.
In those early years, though, the Spanish announcing team did not travel with the team. They still announced road games. How? Well, the Dodgers installed a direct line to Scully's radio call. And Jarrin would listen to Scully's call and, essentially, translate it word for word.
If Scully told a story, Jarrin told the story.
If Scully talked about the weather, Jarrin talked about the weather.
If Scully said that Sandy Koufax was mopping his brow, Jarrin would say, "Sandy Koufax se esta fregando la frente" or something like it.
Over time, though, Jarrin began to pick up Vin's rhythms, began to understand how he told stories, began to get a feel for his own voice. And he started to veer off a little bit. After a few years, the Spanish team began to travel with the team. Jarrin became a wonderful announcer, a legend himself. He closes in on 60 years with the team, he has been a transformational figure as Latino attendance skyrocketed from around 8 percent in the early years to almost half the crowd in 2017.
And, again and again, Jarrin talks about the influence Scully has had on his life, first as a teacher, then as a mentor, then as a friend. Jarrin was there on Wednesday, of course, and as the two men embraced, Jarrin leaned toward Scully's ear to say something: "You never left," Jarrin said softly to his dear friend. "As long as I'm here, you will always be here."