For legions of Dodgers fans, Vin Scully was the voice of their beloved baseball team. But to many Angelenos, the red-haired broadcaster looked more like a member of the family. A grandfather, a the uncle — someone they welcomed into their home on game day.
As heartbroken fans wept Scully dies at 94it felt, they said Wednesday, like a death in the family.
“I almost felt like I lost my dad all over again,” said Desiree Jackson, who rode the junkyard bus to Dodger Stadium to lay flowers and pray at the makeshift memorial that popped up there during the night. “I fell in love with the sport because of my father, my brother and Vin.”
The 44-year-old wore a World Series hat and a long blue dress in honor of the legendary presenter, who died at his home in Hidden Hills on Tuesday. Jackson grew up listening to Scully on the radio, and her voice, she says, is inseparable from memories of her late father.
The memorial at the entrance to the stadium caused an outpouring of offerings and tears. Fans who remembered the announcer described a character who transcended divisions and transported fans to the game – from wherever they listened.
“Generations of my family, that’s how we became Dodgers fans, listening to the show,” said Tiffany Morales, 21, who joined dozens of mourners outside the stadium. “He was like a grandfather to us.”
In addition to prayer candles and bouquets, fans left bags of Dodgers peanuts, a blue and white striped serape and a baseball with “It’s time for Dodger Baseball” – Scully’s trademark opener – inked above the seam.
Eight-year-old Jax Gutierrez Alvarez, sporting Dodger blue, came out carrying flowers. Among the Little League pitcher’s favorite pastimes is rewatching Game 1 of the 1988 World Series – won by the Dodgers on Kirk Gibson’s spectacular ninth-inning home run – with his greats -parents.
“I love Vin Scully’s voice,” he said. “My favorite part is when he says ‘one ball high in right field, it’s gone!'”
A tearful Lupe Guillen from Lincoln Heights brought a single white rose, a Dodgers flag and a handful of Mardi Gras beads to add to the memorial.
“I am heartbroken,” she said. “My uncles lived in Chavez Ravine. They were kicked out, but they were listening to it on the radio in Tijuana. He brought you right there.
Alain Gomez, 38, looked on with tears in his eyes as he reminisced about summers spent listening to Scully on the radio with his brothers. A lifelong Dodgers fan, a guy who bleeds Dodger blue, he wore a new Vin Scully t-shirt and sported a sleeve of Dodgers tattoos.
“It’s what I grew up with,” Gomez said. “The stories he told about each player, you knew he loved the game.”
In East LA, Carlos Ayon parked in front of a Scully mural painted outside Paradise Bar. In it, a smiling Scully wore a suit with a Lakers jersey on it. Two candles flickered at the base of the wall.
Ayon is a permanent resident of East LA. He took a day off from his office job and planned to take pictures with his Sony a7 II camera at the stadium and here at Lupe’s Burritos, where a “Vin Scully Av” sign hangs.
Growing up in Los Angeles, he said, meant growing up with the Dodgers and with Scully.
“He basically became a member of the family,” the 36-year-old said, providing the background noise of life, which Ayon found “comforting”.
Ayon gestured toward the mural of Scully and the one next to it of late Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
When Bryant joined the NBA, Ayon was around 10 years old. Although a lot of things changed growing up, some things, thankfully, never did.
Bryant and Scully “were the constants,” he said. “That’s why it hits people so hard. Their two deaths.
Another memorial was unveiled Wednesday to Scully’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jesús Carcamo, 25, left his lucky Dodgers hat there at the base of a palm-sized wreath of blue roses, white hydrangeas and white orchids placed by the Hollywood Historic Trust.
“I wanted to leave behind one of my favorite hats, the one I wore every time I went to Dodger Stadium,” he said.
Fred Thomas III, who wore a black Vin Scully t-shirt and a crisp Dodgers hat, also came to the Scully star to pay his respects. A lifelong Dodgers fan, he remembers hearing Scully call the game from his grandmother’s living room in the 1950s.
“Everyone had a radio and you wanted to listen to Scully,” he said. “He was a storyteller you could trust.”
Thomas said he admired the way Scully kept listeners up to date with what was happening on the pitch, even as he weaved his famous yarns.
“Scully would keep you in the game,” he said.
Behind the ledger at Toro Grillhouse in Glendale, owner RJ Liquigan wore a Justin Turner jersey (he’s the Dodgers’ third baseman, for the uninitiated), a Dodgers cap and a replica World Series ring to pay tribute to Scully. As he phoned the controls, Spectrum SportsNet commemorated the broadcaster on a nearby TV.
Throughout the day, people dropped by to take pictures of Scully’s roughly 25-foot-tall mural in the Liquigan parking lot. Painted by LA muralist Alex “Ali” Gonzalez in 2018, it shows Scully in costume, microphone in hand. By Wednesday afternoon, white and red roses had been left at its base.
For Liquigan, Scully “represents the Dodgers the most.”
“He’s a legend,” he said. “There is no one like him.”
Liquigan became a Dodgers fan in 1988 when they won the World Series. Five years old at the time, he was watching the match in the retirement home where his mother worked.
He recalled Gibson’s Game 1 home run and Scully’s memorable words: “In a year that has been so unlikely, the impossible has happened.”
“Hopefully we can win the 2022 World Wine Championship,” Liquigan said. “Winning for Wine.”
Richard Choi also remembered this famous game in 1988.
For years, three hours before every Dodgers home game, Choi would arrive at the stadium and look for Scully.
Choi was showing Scully the game’s composition cards and asking the famed broadcaster how to pronounce “Abreu,” the surname of one of the players. Scully was reading player names aloud for Choi, a Korean American broadcaster who was a Dodgers game commentator for Radio Korea from 1990 to 2021.
“He’s like a father figure to me,” Choi said Wednesday morning during an interview at the Radio Korea studio. “That’s the first one I looked for at Dodger Stadium.”
For the 74-year-old, Scully was a father figure in more ways than one. Scully taught Choi English and a love of baseball after he arrived in Los Angeles in 1974. Scully guided Choi when Radio Korea became the first station to broadcast Major League Baseball games in Korean in 1990.
And thanks to Scully, Choi said from the Koreatown studio, the burgeoning Korean American community in Southern California has begun to understand the region’s sports, culture and identity.
“For Korean Americans, he taught the true taste of baseball,” Choi said.
Shortly after Choi started calling Dodgers games, he once asked Scully about the famous call Scully made in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Why did Scully say “she’s gone” rather than “he’s gone” or “he’s gone” as the ball left the field, Choi asked Scully.
A man would describe the cars and yachts he loves and is proud of as “her,” Choi recalled in response to Scully. Describing the ball as “her,” Scully said, passion was added to this historic moment.
“When I heard that,” Choi said, “I thought he was a genius.”