The Man. The Voice. The Stories.
Vin Scully broadcasted Dodgers games for 67 seasons. Before he signed off, Jon Miller, Bud Selig, Bob Costas and 20 other colleagues and friends reflected on why a career like Scully's won't happen again.
Editor's note: Vin Scully died on Aug. 2 at 94, the Dodgers announced. We are republishing this 2016 story from when he retired.
or 67 years, we have been hearing those soothing words come floating out of that voice: The warmest, most welcoming, most melodic voice in the sports universe.
And if it feels as if that voice has been a part of your life forever, well ... It probably has.
He has been as much a presence over these last 67 years as the afternoon sunshine and the sparkling stars that hover above the broadcast booths where he has spun his magical tales. So how are we supposed to comprehend life after Vin, life after baseball's most iconic voice exits the booth for the last time on the first Sunday in October?
When Vin Scully first walked into the Dodgers' broadcast booth, Winston Churchill hadn't started his second stint as the prime minister of Great Britain. Connie Mack, a man born while Abraham Lincoln was president, was still managing in the major leagues. The transistor radio -- a gizmo that would turn the man at the microphone into a California icon -- wouldn't be invented for another four years.
That was April 1950.
The Dodgers still played baseball at Ebbets Field. And Vin Scully was a 22-year-old rookie broadcaster, sharing the booth with the legendary Red Barber. He was a young man about to embark on a journey even he could have never envisioned: from East Coast to West Coast, from crackling AM radios to the fuzz of black-and-white TV to the splendor of "living color" to baseball games streaming across your smart phone.
So how do we capture the magnitude of Vin Scully, the meaning of Vin Scully, the miracle of Vin Scully? Not with our words, but with the words of the men and women who have known him best, whose company he has shared, whose lives he has touched, whose careers he has described and even transformed.
We spoke with numerous people who fit that description. We listened to them laugh, regale us and even fight back tears. So here are their stories. And here is his story, The Story of Vin Scully, from the hearts, minds and voices of those who have fallen under the spell of baseball's most beloved voice.
Where else to begin, except with that classic, instantly recognizable voice?
Bob Costas (Scully's former colleague at NBC): "You start out with the most important thing, which is how distinctive and pleasing his voice is. So just because you can hit every note doesn't mean that you're Sinatra, and just because you can do every dance step doesn't mean that you are Fred Astaire. There is some almost indescribable quality, but you know it when you hear it and you see it, that makes even the routine sound special when it comes from him."
Bob Wolff (95-year-old broadcast legend): "He has a beautiful, harmonious voice in which it sounds like he is singing the words. He used his voice to a great advantage."
Charley Steiner (Dodgers broadcaster and Scully pregame dinner companion): "You know, a voice is a fastball. You're either blessed with one or you're not. And then how you use your fastball is equally if not more important. Have you ever heard Vin scream ever once? Never. "She is gonnnne." But not: 'HE is gone!' You never hear that. So, he's got the fastball, and he's got control and command. He knows just the right moment when to inflect, when not to, when to shut up. ... So, he's got Jack Benny timing, with this perfectly suited voice that we've all grown accustomed to over these years."
Orel Hershiser (Former Dodgers ace and current Dodgers broadcaster): "I liked the way he pronounced my name. He lengthened the 'O' - 'Ooooo-rel Hersh-hi-ser.' It wasn't 'oral.' It wasn't mispronounced 'Earl.' It wasn't 'Her-shimer' or 'Her-shes-er.' It was pronounced perfectly: 'Today on the mound, Ooooo-rel, Hersh-hi-ser.' That Scully rhythm, you know? He's got that melodic rhythm, and my name sounds better to a melody. If it were to be set to a melody, Vinny can do it."
Bud Selig (MLB Commissioner Emeritus): "If I can tell you a funny story. Some years ago, quite a few years ago, I called him. I wanted him to do, I think, a voice for the All-Century team because he is reflective of that in the radio, in my opinion. Anyway, he called me back, and my wife answered the phone. And he said, 'Hello, is the commissioner there? This is ...' and she said, 'Oh, I know that voice anywhere. I know who this is.' It was great, and I kidded him later on about it. He said, 'I couldn't believe she knew my voice.' "
Bob Costas: "He's had many great calls and many great moments on the air, remembrances of players and people and circumstances and little turns of phrase that, in and of themselves, were terrific. But even when he's just describing a routine play, the rhythm of it and the sound of his voice elevates it."
Tim McCarver (Hall of Fame broadcaster): "If John Facenda is known as the voice of God, where does that leave Vin Scully?"
We always describe him as "a broadcaster." But to call Vin Scully just "a broadcaster" doesn't begin to approach what his name represents, especially on his turf in Southern California.
John Lowe (Longtime friend and baseball writer): "I'll never forget something I read (from) H.L. Mencken. He said about Beethoven: 'The artist can be no greater than the man.' And that makes me think of Vinny, because the reason you're hearing so many stories about him, and the reason he is so beloved and so brilliant, is that he's a great man. He's a great artist because he's a great man."
Fred Claire (Former Dodgers PR director and GM): "I can remember I had just started with the Dodgers, and there was this young guy who was just starting with the radio station. He wanted to interview Vin. I'll never forget this. So he came in, and Vin said, 'Sure, I'll do it.' And so the young man hit the recorder and talked to Vinny. Vinny spent at least 40 minutes with him. The young man came back to me, and ... he's shaking. He said, 'Fred, I didn't hit the right button. The recorder didn't work' -- literally in tears. So he said, 'Could I just have a few more minutes?' And so I went to Vinny and explained what happened. It's a young guy interested in announcing. And Vinny said, 'Let's do it again. Let's do it again.' I don't know anyone else who would do that. 'Let's do it again.' Think about that. That has to do with his compassion, his humanity and something that's part of his grace and his memory of a young announcer starting out himself who got a helping hand."
Dennis Gilbert (Longtime friend and agent, current White Sox special assistant): "Vin and his wife are America's greatest love story. ... It's the respect they have for each other, the caring they have for each other, the courtesy. I mean, he's still opening her car door, he's still -- they hold hands."
Ned Colletti (Former Dodgers GM, current Dodgers senior advisor): "Now, as the world gets different and it gets faster and more impersonal and all those things are changing, when I think about Vin and I talk to Vin, even as of today, he's like the comforting soul that reminds me of what it was. It's still in present tense for him -- how he is and how he treats people and his tremendous respect and passion for the game of baseball.
Dennis Gilbert: "There was a gentleman who was 90 years old who wanted to meet Vin. ... So we go into the press box, and Vin sits there, and they're chatting for about 10 minutes, and then he had to excuse himself to get ready for the game. Well, the next day I hear from the gentleman's son, just saying how his father says his life is now complete. It was one of the greatest moments of his life to meet Vin. And I called Vin to tell him. ... Vin said, 'Thank ME? I want to thank HIM because of what a great experience it was for me just to meet the gentleman.' How about that?"
A.J. Ellis (Former Dodgers catcher): "You can catch him (in the clubhouse) on Sunday mornings on the way to Mass. He comes in and gets coffee. (One Sunday,) Brandon (McCarthy) and I are the only two guys in the clubhouse. And Vin comes in and starts chatting. ... And all of a sudden his phone rings, and he says, 'Sorry, boys, excuse me.' He's always so polite. So he says, 'Yes, dear. Oh thank you for reminding me. Yes, dear.' (Then he says,) 'Gentlemen, if you would excuse me, today is one of my grandchildren's birthdays. We have a tradition in our family that I have to sing to her.' And he steps into the players' bathroom and you can hear him singing 'Happy Birthday' over the phone to his grandchild. Me and Brandon are looking at each other like, OK, this is unbelievable. Here's Vin Scully in his great baritone voice, singing 'Happy Birthday' as it echoes through the bathroom of the clubhouse."
The Reluctant Megastar
He lives and works in the town where more Americans chase stardom than anywhere else. But somehow, Hollywood's only 88-year-old rock star is a man who spends every day of his life aiming the spotlight away from himself.
Charley Steiner: "L.A. is the city of stars. Name any star you want, from Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, on and on and on and on. My contention is Vin is THE star. In the city of stars, he is the biggest star of them all. Because everybody listens to him, everybody loves him, and he has been the soundtrack of their stars since 1958."
Ned Colletti: "I don't know that I know anybody else like him -- with the reverence of the people, with the adoring public that he has and how many people speak so kindly of this man every day. And yet he is the most humble man I've ever known."
Fred Claire: "I think the last time I saw Vin earlier this year, he was being honored by the L.A. Sports Council at a significant dinner in Los Angeles. And ... he said, 'Fred, let's go over here. There's a reception area, and we can visit.' ... We were talking and having a glass of wine, and I think both of us were kind of locked into the conversation. But what was happening was I could see over my shoulder there was a crowd of people forming. ... It was incredible because everyone wants to tell him how much they think of him. How much they love him. How much he means to them and to their families. And Vinny is so gracious that he can't refuse anybody. ... It would be overwhelming if it wasn't for Vinny being on the receiving end."
Rick Monday (Current Dodgers broadcaster): "I grew up in Southern California, Santa Monica. ... My mother was a single parent, and we had Vinny and Jerry Doggett in my mom's car when the Dodgers played, and they were in our homes. They were already our friends. ... (Later in life, when I got to the big leagues) my mother knew that I obviously was in the major leagues, but I really truly believe that the first time it really struck home for her was when her son was playing in a major league game against the Dodgers, and my mother heard Vin Scully mention her son's name."
Ned Colletti: "My daughter, Jenna, interned for the Dodgers a few years ago. ... So she got to know Vin, and he became her favorite Dodger. And when she got married ... Vin read the bridal party introductions on tape. So he surprised everybody at the ceremony. This was in Chicago. When the people heard his voice, the whole place erupted. ... It's hard to steal the show from a bride and groom at a wedding, but for a couple of minutes, a guy who surely didn't want to steal the show from anybody at any point, stole the show. ... We'll forever be grateful for the humility and the love that he showed."
Bob Costas: "Somewhere around 1994, '95, I was interviewing Ray Charles for an NBC news magazine and probably spent a couple of hours talking with him. ... Then, when we're done and the cameras had been turned off, he says to me, 'You know who I would really like to meet?' And I'm thinking, 'He's Ray Charles. He could have met just about anybody he'd wanted to have met throughout the course of his life. Who might it be?' ... 'Vin Scully.' And I say, 'Why?' And he says, 'Well, because I love baseball. But you have to understand, to me the picture means nothing. It's all the sound. And Vin Scully's broadcasts are almost musical, so I enjoy baseball so much more listening to him.' ... So I set it up with Vin and took Ray to Dodger Stadium. I was sitting across from Ray, and there was an empty seat awaiting Vin's arrival, and Vin came walking through the door wearing -- as I remember -- a royal blue jacket, the way he is always turned out for a baseball broadcast. And as he walked toward Charles, he said, 'Ray, my name is Vin Scully, and it's a pleasure to meet you.' He might as well have said, 'A pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be,' because that's how it struck Ray. And then they sat down, and we had a combination baseball and music discussion. Vin had a nice experience. And Ray Charles -- and I mean this sincerely -- he's Ray freaking Charles -- I believe he had one of the great experiences of his life."
He has been the Dodgers' television voice for decades, but if you listen closely to Vin Scully on the airwaves, you can still hear a man who was raised on radio. And even he admits that all those years filling in the "blank canvas" on radio have helped him carve out a style unlike anyone else in the booth.
Jon Miller (San Francisco Giants broadcaster): "I think that he has a great grasp of how to do the television, (but) it's all firmly grounded in his ability to do radio and how he was brought up in the business as a radio guy. ... There are plenty of guys who are on TV ... where they just sit and chit-chat, the two guys chit-chatting back and forth as pitches are being made. And, you know, Vinny, that's not his style. He likes to give you the next pitch, to digress for a moment from this story, and then the pitch, and then back to the story. ... You know, in radio, you have to describe every pitch to people. It didn't happen until you described it to people on radio. That's just a total, basic fundamental of radio."
Bob Costas: "You know, (Red) Barber, when he first started doing games on television, he very tersely put it: 'On radio, a broadcaster's No. 1. On television, he is a distant No. 2. Your job on radio is to paint the picture. Your job on television is to put a caption beneath a picture that already exists.' When he first said that, that sounded like, yes, that's right, and for the most part, it is right -- except Vin, who obviously had great regard for Barber and owes him a debt as his mentor, Vin didn't just put a caption beneath a picture. He put a frame around it, and he added shadings to it. So, yes, for Vin there is a difference between radio and television, but my impression is that he didn't see it as much of an either/or as Red did. Red saw them as distinctly different. Vin saw a way to meld them."
John Lowe: "The year that Ichiro was going to break the George Sisler hit record, of course Sisler played a 154-game schedule and Ichiro was playing a 162-game schedule. So Vinny wants to bring this up without, I think, making it sound like he's criticizing Ichiro. Ichiro did have a tremendous year. But to bring up this issue of the 154 versus the 162, he tells the TV audience, 'Just between us.' "
Bob Costas: "If you watch any other game, no matter how good the announcer is, no matter how good they are, there is always some obstacle or some maze that they have got to make their way through if they are going to tell even one or two of the dozen or so stories like that Vin tells during a game. So he's a uniquely talented announcer, but if a 30-year-old Vin Scully came along today, the circumstances could never be duplicated. The business might not know what to do with him. The importance of radio would be much less. You would never have anything that would match the odyssey of the Dodgers (or) the importance of Jackie Robinson. The transplant from Brooklyn to the West Coast, the broken hearts in Brooklyn, the whole new vistas of baseball on the West Coast. And then the metabolism of the society of the game changing. But he is grandfathered in, and I mean that in the nicest way. So the very things that appeal to people about him are the opposite of most sports TV does. It's like we can't get enough of this, and we can't stop doing the exact opposite."
He was there for Sandy Koufax's perfect game 51 Septembers ago. He was there when Hank Aaron launched No. 715 and changed the world. And of course Vin Scully was there when Kirk Gibson hit a World Series home run off Dennis Eckersley that belonged in a Hollywood script. It's a reminder that a funny thing happens when a man spends 67 years of his life describing baseball games. His voice, his words, can become almost as big a part of history's biggest moments as the moments themselves.
Charley Steiner: "You know, we're running down now, during each game, his top 20 calls of all time. It's very cool. And for me, there have been so many. But the one call to me that kind of sticks out more than the others is the Gibson home run: 'She. Is. Gone.' Lays out. He's not screaming, but you could hear the excitement in his voice. Then there is that moment, as Gibson is running around the bases ... he comes up with this line: 'In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.' And I'm thinking to myself, no mortal can do that."
Kirk Gibson (On how Scully inspired him to bat that night): "What happened was, I had several injections in each leg. I was in the training room. He kind of kept painting the game initially as no Kirk Gibson because I wasn't available. I wasn't going to play. So they kind of painted that as the game went on. I'd listen to it and I'd put ice on my legs on and off, on and off. I had no inclination I'd be able to play. ... Then, when they got to the eighth inning, before they cut out (for a commercial), they cut to the dugout again. We were trailing by one run now, and they said, 'Kirk Gibson will not be playing tonight.' And I just got up and said, 'My ass.' ... I said, 'Go get Tommy [Lasorda].' We hear Tommy [swearing]. Tommy says, 'Leave me alone,' basically. ... I said, 'Hit Davis eighth. I'll hit for the pitcher.' He goes, 'OK.' ... As I was sitting there watching the game, I kinda started dreaming a moment in my mind. I'd get up there and I'd have a special moment and I started to feel what it would feel like. ... And it just took place. And you hear the calls after it ... 'She. Is. Gone.' "
Jon Miller (On Aaron's 715th): "Henry Aaron hits one of the all-time epic historic home runs in the history of the sport, and Vinny gives a vivid description of it ... and (then) Vinny did not say anything for, I don't know, almost a full minute after that. There was just the roar of the crowd in Atlanta and the fireworks going off. And even though it was just a radio broadcast -- he was only on the radio that night -- there it all was, as if you were right there in the ballpark. You could hear it. You could almost feel it. Then he came back in and he painted the picture not just of what was going on, but of the actual significance of the moment. Of who Henry Aaron was and what he had just done. And then the largest significance, of Henry Aaron being a black man in the deep South in the United States, having broken this cherished record by one of the most popular figures in the history of baseball, a record that a lot of people did not want to see broken. And 50,000 people are on their feet in the Deep South, cheering for this black man. ... And I just remember thinking, 'That's the greatest bit of extemporaneous live play-by-play sports broadcasting in maybe the history of the medium.' "
Bob Costas (On Koufax's perfect game): "You know, people who were at that game and had transistor radios were still listening to Scully. They could watch it, but they were still listening to Scully and his eye for detail -- 'Sandy removes his cap ... wipes his index finger across his left brow, dries it off on his left pant leg, readjusts the bill of his cap. I imagine that the mound at Dodger Stadium must be the loneliest place in the world. There are 29,000 people here ... and about a million butterflies.' He described all the little things, like the people in the bullpen who were pressing towards the fence to get a better look, and what the butterflies that the infielders must be feeling, like, 'God, please don't let one get through me and mess up a perfect game.' And you have to also remember that, although (Jim) Bunning has pitched one the year before, Don Larsen and Bunning's perfect games were the only perfect games that had been pitched since 1922. So a perfect game was a tremendous rarity. It seems to have come more frequently since. So not only was it a rarity, but it was at Dodger Stadium, and it was Sandy Koufax. ... When Koufax comes along, Vin is not that much older than Sandy. Sandy throws a perfect game (at age) 29. And Vin is, what? 35? 36? They are both kind of at the peak of their respective lives. ... Just as Koufax was an elegant pitcher, Scully is the most elegant of baseball broadcasters."
Jerry Reuss (Former Dodgers pitcher on the thrill of having Scully describe his no-hitter): "Oh, did he ever set the stage. ... I posted it on my Flickr site, and it's about two and a half minutes long, and you get to see the final inning about how he did it. For me, it's the most memorable highlight that he ever did. You know, I still can (hear the way he called it), and because of the way that it was done and watching the whole ball game, I still remember the excitement. Hell, I saw the game. I pitched the game. But by the way Vin describes it, it's the closest I can get to reliving it."
Rick Monday (On how he treasures the tape of Scully describing how he rescued the American flag from a protestor in 1976): "For years and years, all I had was that audio. And then (in) '84 ... I met a gentleman ... in Tom Lasorda's office who was with one of the movie studios. He said, 'Hey, I was at a buddy of mine's house who's with a different studio, and he showed me the video tape of the flag.' And I said ... 'I've never seen that; nobody knows it exists.' And he messaged it over to me that night. So I've been hanging on the words of Vinny to recreate that for years, and then all of a sudden, here's this video. When you look at the video and you match it with Vinny's talk, it's like Vinny was standing not just up in the booth sitting there. It's like he was right by my side as I was going over. To this day, when I hear Vinny make the call -- and I've heard it maybe a few hundred times ... I get goosebumps."
Bob Costas: "Many of the all-time great announcers have truly great and still resonant calls of great moments. Some are every bit as good as Vin's best calls. But what generally sets Vin apart is all the stuff leading up to it. To really appreciate Vin, you don't listen to just Harvey Kuenn, the last out of the (Koufax) perfect game. You listen to the whole inning. And you listen to (Kirk) Gibson's or watch Gibson's whole at-bat, which was an exceptionally long at-bat because it went to 3-2, and there were foul balls, and he was limping around and gathering himself, and he had to come out of the dugout, and it was very dramatic. You had to note that he put his uniform on, and now he was present in the dugout -- all those things. It's when you listen to all of it ... that is where Vin separates. Not necessarily the call of the home run, or of the strikeout, or of the great catch, but of all the atmospherics, everything that led up to it."
Is there anyone you can you think of who was a better storyteller than Vin Scully? Will Rogers? Mark Twain? Ken Burns? Well, whoever the heck is in that argument, we know none of the other contestants was trying to work play-by-play of a baseball game in between the tales.
Rick Monday: "His ability for recall is absolutely amazing. We're into the computer age. He's got the best computer between his ears that you have ever seen."
Jon Miller: "He's just this walking repository of baseball history, and baseball oddities and curiosities and personalities. And I think that, for me, is the beauty of who Vinny is. Just his amazing recall of those stories. The art of it, for me, is the ability to recall those things when it actually is relevant to what he's doing -- the game itself. It's not like he's got a list of stories, (and he says), 'I think I'll tell THESE stories tonight.' "
Dennis Gilbert: "When he tells a story, he feels it. It's not just something that he'll read about. It's something that he'll get himself engrossed in. He'll want to know as much about it as possible. It's not like an actor just reading his lines."
Stan Kasten (President and CEO of the Dodgers): "Just a couple of weeks ago, we were playing the Rays, the Tampa Bay Rays. As you know ... there are several different types of rays, a fish. Of course you know which of them are the fastest, and which are the slowest, and which are the biggest fish. Or at least you do if you listened to that game that night -- where we had about three innings of everything you'd ever want to know about fish, in between a delightful recounting of balls, and strikes, and hits, and errors, etc., etc."
Bob Costas: "He and I always used to have this little inside joke that no one ever lined into a double play to end an inning while Vin was in the middle of a story -- never."
Rick Monday: "They tell you, 'No, don't start a story with two outs.' Vinny does. Vinny starts a story with two outs, and the story's going to last five minutes. The game accommodates Vinny. The game will slow down. The guy will foul off 12 pitches if Vinny starts a story. And if anybody else, if any other human being starts a story, you get a 1-2-3 inning and you'll laugh, and it'll be, 'And we'll come back and tell the story after the next half-inning.' Never happens to Vin. His timing is impeccable."
Stan Kasten (On all the times he found himself frozen in place, waiting for Scully to finish a story): "I've got to hear how it turns out, right? ... He's always got stories, and, you know, OK, well, I didn't hear how the story ends, right? I've got to hear that. I've got to hear how this middle reliever for the visiting team's third-grade teacher taught him a lesson. I need to hear that, OK? I've got to know that story. I don't even know the damn pitcher's name, but I need to know the story."
Ron Cey (former Dodgers third baseman): "One of the things I was introduced to here early, when I started playing here, was the transistor radio. ... Coming out to listen to Vin Scully, and lot of people would bring their transistor radios to the ballgame. Because we had so many people who got attached to that philosophy, all those transistor radios would be on at the same time. It would resonate and become like a loudspeaker."
Jerry Reuss: "I was pitching a game for Houston -- it was either '72 or 73. It was a weeknight game, and there was maybe a crowd of 20,000 there. But as I stood there on the mound ready to deliver a pitch, for whatever reason it caught my attention (from the sound of those transistor radios) that Vin was in midstory. ... It was the only time it ever happened, but I can hear by his cadence, his inflection, that he was in midstory. It just caught me. So I stepped off the mound, threw down the resin bag, rubbed my hand, and I could still hear him tell the story. ... He got his point out, people laughed, and without missing a beat, he said, 'Now Reuss is ready to deliver.' ... That's the kind of respect that Vin Scully deserves."
A.J. Ellis (On how Scully got him trending on Twitter): "It was 2012. It was my first year as a starting guy. And I was having a game against the Cubs. I got an RBI single my first at-bat, a home run in my second at-bat. And I didn't know about this 'til after the game when all the writers came afterward (and asked): 'How do you feel about Vin mentioning you on Twitter?' And I was new to Twitter at the time. I was like, 'What are you guys talking about?' (They said) 'Vin got you trending and kept talking about your name. Someone in the booth informed him you were trending on Twitter. He had no idea what Twitter was. So, he talked about it and said, 'Let's keep him going.' Next thing you know, my Twitter account blew up that night. I was (in) the top two or three stories in the country."
Bryce Harper (Nationals right fielder, on the thrill of having Scully call his first game in the big leagues against the Dodgers): "The first thing he said was, 'Coming up to the plate is the 19-year-old Bryce Harper. His dad's an iron worker from Las Vegas. And his mom Sheri.' ... I have the DVD of the game, and I have a signed picture from him as well now, of me and him. He tells the stories. He understands the players. He understands their families and what their mom and dad do. Just everything. He's an incredible person, and he has a huge heart. I can't imagine the game without him."
Justin Turner (Dodgers third baseman): "The first time I met him, I was a visiting player with the Mets. He came into the locker room and I got to talk to him for 10 to 15 minutes. He ... started talking about stuff that -- I had no idea how he knew this stuff about me and my life and my parents. It was mind-blowing. ... He was talking about how every Christmas I would go down (in) my parents' house and help my dad put up Christmas lights. I don't know how anyone would even know that. It's like he's camped out in front of my house."
The Farewell Tour
The visitors clubhouse is crammed into an undersized cranny in the bowels of Dodger Stadium. The home broadcast booth, located in the "Vin Scully Press Box," sits five levels up, overlooking one of sports' most picturesque vistas. To get from that clubhouse to that broadcast booth requires a harrowing journey -- via either a shaky, slow-motion elevator or by foot up a barren stairway and slow-moving escalators. But over and over this season, a never-ending series of visiting managers, players and coaches have undertaken that journey. And all for one reason: to salute the great Vin Scully on his turf before it's too late.
Charley Steiner: "I kid with him all the time. I said, 'Vin ... you're so damn big your farewell tour comes to you. People come up from the clubhouses to say hello and pay their respects -- managers, broadcasters, writers, all of the people he would have had to see traveling. No, they come to him. And it's the damnedest thing. And there's such love and reverence that comes from these people who come up. You know, they don't have their full uniform on. They have their pants and T-shirt, you know, uniform pants and T-shirt. Umpires, he makes time for them. And they all pose for pictures. When Papi (David Ortiz) came up with the Red Sox, I saw that picture for a week. But that's him, and that's where he's Babe Ruth. And you'll never see this Babe Ruth in a Boston Braves uniform."
Boyd Robertson (Scully's stage manager on Dodgers broadcasts for the last 28 seasons): "They're all there to say hello and say goodbye. A lot of the players in their 20s, if they are from Southern California, their parents listened to Vin. ... One of the most touching visits was from Dusty Baker, because as you know, they had a long history together. He's from Riverside and played with the Dodgers. It was touching to see them hug each other and say goodbye."
Bryce Harper (Born in the offseason following Scully's 43rd in the booth and one of the first vistors to pay homage): "I asked before the series if there was any way I could go up and see Vin and tell him goodbye. And they were like, 'Yeah, no problem if you really want to go up there.' I was like, 'Yeah, absolutely. I don't want to make him come down here.' So I made some time before the game to say hello and made sure what time he'd be up there so I wouldn't bother him. That's somebody everyone should pay their respects to. Not just Dodgers fans, but all of baseball."
A.J. Ellis (One of the first Dodgers to visit Scully in the booth): "I walk in, and he's sitting there right up by the microphone, and he says, 'Hey, A.J. come right in.' You immediately feel like you've traveled up to visit the king."
Stan Kasten (On what has stood out most about Vin Scully's farewell season): "The endless, and I mean endless ... stream of visiting players, coaches, managers who make their pilgrimage on that rickety elevator up to the press box for the only time in their lives to meet Vin Scully. Every game. Every game the visiting team has people that, 'Oh, I have to get up to meet Vin Scully.' ... He's attained a stature that is legendary, literally legendary. And so everyone who respects the game at all, who has any consciousness of its history or its place in popular culture knows Vin Scully's place in that world, which is at the top of any pyramid you care to draw up."
A.J. Ellis: "I walked in, and he said, 'Thanks for waiting. It's nice to have all these players saying goodbye.' And, boom, that's the moment it hits you. I said, 'Well, Vin, this isn't saying goodbye. I'm coming up to say, 'Hi.' ... But then, as I walked out, he said it again: 'Thanks again for coming up and saying goodbye.' It was almost like we've taken him for granted because he's always there."
On Oct. 2, 1936, an 8-year-old boy was walking down a street in New York, near the late, great ballpark of the New York Giants, the Polo Grounds. As he passed a storefront window, he was drawn to the linescore of the World Series game played earlier that day, which ended: Yankees 18, Giants 4. A pang of sympathy for the Giants rushed through young Vincent Scully. And it was that chance encounter, with the linescore of a World Series blowout, he says now, that inadvertently launched what would become a lifelong romance with baseball.
Now roll the clock forward, and keep rolling. Rip the pages off the calendar, and keep ripping. Spin ahead exactly 80 years, to Oct. 2, 2016, to the San Francisco Giants versus Dodgers, at AT&T Park. To the day Vin Scully will call his final game. The symmetry is perfect. But the goodbye that is coming that day? It's bittersweet -- and almost impossible to grasp for all of us who can't imagine baseball without That Voice, and its seemingly endless, reassuring presence.
Stan Kasten: "Try to comprehend 67 years of anything. ... Malcolm Gladwell could figure it out, the enormity of doing any job, let alone the same job, in any sport, let alone one sport, or any teams, let alone one team, for 67 f---ing years."
Bob Costas (On whether anyone else in any profession has had 67 years of greatness): "I thought of someone like Tony Bennett. ... Or someone like Angela Lansbury as an actress. But the difference is that the baseball broadcaster, even more so than any other sportscaster, is a constant presence. Even if we all have been constantly aware of Tony Bennett ... it's not like you're watching a Tony Bennett concert every day, or seeing him on television every night for six months, or even as much as you love him, listening to a Tony Bennett album every single night. ... Or even if you have seen every movie that Angela Lansbury ever did, or every Broadway performance that she ever delivered, that's still not the same as 162 baseball games every year, which basically Vin did for most of his career until he just started doing home games."
Rick Monday: "Every day for 67 years, our friend has come on the air and given us Dodger baseball. He's not a broadcaster. He's our friend, whether you've ever met him or not. He has that charm. He has that attachment. I've always said he could get kids in a sandbox to stop building sand castles, to stop playing with the trucks, by reading the phone book if they piped it into the PA system. He just has that quality about him."
Bud Selig: "You know, there have been great announcers, but there isn't a question in my mind that Vin Scully has had the most profound social impact on this game of any announcer in history. And really, I would have to say to you, his impact is greater than most people who are in the game, actually ... because what he did with baseball is make it a family institution. People grew up every night, couldn't wait to listen to him. He affected their families. He affected their lives."
Stan Kasten: "I get to know Vin, we become really good friends, and we talk about a lot of things. And at one point it comes to where he hates the way major leaguers do rundowns. They all stink at it. ... The best way to do a rundown is the full arm fake. The full arm fake stops runners dead in their tracks, and you gently walk over and tag them. That's the way to do it, you know? And so Vin and I had this thing. Vin said whenever there's a rundown now he thinks about me, (and) whenever I see a rundown I think about him. And I was discussing this with Vin one day, and I said, 'This is the right way to do rundowns, and the way I know that is because I read it in stuff that Branch Rickey wrote 70 years ago.' And Vin says to me, 'You're right. That's right. That's exactly what Branch and I used to discuss.' Oh ... Branch Rickey was a player who came to the major leagues in . (So) Vin Scully has talked baseball with people who have played the game from  through yesterday, OK? Who on earth can make that claim? No one. One person. Vin Scully."
Bob Costas: "Six degrees of Kevin Bacon? It's probably two, and no more than three, degrees of Vin Scully -- to connect you in some way to everything in baseball history. Everything. He had to have known somebody ... who knew Cy Young. He had to have known somebody who probably met Ty Cobb. Ty Cobb lived until 1961. If he didn't know Walter Johnson, he sure as hell talked to somebody who batted against Walter Johnson. ... So there is no significant baseball personage that Vin Scully either didn't know or potentially knew someone who knew them."
Stan Kasten: "Vin and I joke about this all the time, I haven't yet conceded that he's leaving, although I'm starting to think maybe it's really going to happen. All year when people say this is Vin's last year, all I would ever say was, 'We'll see,' and then just laughed because he knows that's what I do. But ... I'm ruefully getting close to conceding that he may really be leaving, and it's very painful."
Jaime Jarrin (Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster for the last 58 seasons): "It is very sad, this year, for me, because I know the fact that he's leaving the Dodgers, because he just plays such a big, big part in my professional career. He has been my mentor, my teacher, my inspiration professionally, my friend."
Rachel Robinson (Jackie Robinson's widow and founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation): "I can hardly believe that Vin Scully is retiring after being such an important part of Dodger baseball. What fond memories we all have of his enthusiasm for baseball, and his terrific appreciation for the beauty of the sport. Our relationship with Vin goes all the way back to the 1950s for sure, when Jack was still playing and Vin was a young broadcaster. We were all so young then."
Jaime Jarrin: "I don't know how people will react to the fact that he is not going to be there. ... But one thing I know: People are going to be crying."
Bud Selig: "Will baseball go on and be fine without him? Vin would be the first person to say that. And I will say that, too. It will. But there'll be a lot of lonesome people in Los Angeles."
Stan Kasten: "Vin is still part of the organization and will still be here on special occasions. And we haven't completely defined that yet because, again, I'm still not conceding that he's leaving. ... But we get to replay his games forever, and that's going to be comforting to many, many, many people, especially in Los Angeles. ... I grew up with Red Barber, Mel Allen, and Phil Rizzuto, OK? And then I spent my whole career (in Atlanta) with Skip Caray, and Pete van Wieren, and Ernie Johnson, all of whom I loved and I became devoted fans of. But I don't feel the need to hear them every day, like people in Los Angeles seem to need -- and will continue to need, I think, for a very long time (to hear Vin Scully). ... And that's just because he's Vin."
Rick Monday: "I have to admit I've had a hard time thinking about that last inning. I'm not sure I can even be in the booth. I can't imagine when he turns off that mic for the last time ... (very long pause, as Monday appears to be fighting off tears) ... because the silence will literally be deafening."
ESPN.com MLB writers Doug Padilla and Katie Strang and ESPN The Magazine reporter-researcher Doug Mittler contributed to this report.