What Vincent Edward Scully first came to Los Angeles to broadcast Dodgers baseball games in 1958, he worried because he could not find the essence of the city. The center. The heart. He was 30 years old, and he had some clear ideas about what it took to call a baseball game. He thought it was important that the hometown baseball announcer know the hometown. So, he kept looking for this PLACE. That’s was how his mind worked then. There had to be a place. Back in New York, there was always a place.
Vin Scully heard life in New York City rhythms then — well, he had grown up in New York. He went to school in New York. He had worked with Red Barber in New York. And in New York there’s always a place, doesn’t matter if it’s Brooklyn or the Bronx, Harlem or Greenwich Village, Manhattan or Queens. There’s a place you go, where people gather, where decisions are made, where the energy pulses, where everything starts.
“In New York, for me, it was Toots Shor’s,” he says. That was the restaurant, of course, there on 51st street between 5th and 6th Avenues but closer to 6th. That was where things were always going on, where Vin could feel the city’s vibrations, its power. He might see Joe DiMaggio sitting with Marilyn Monroe. He might catch Frank Sinatra talking a little boxing. He might catch a glimpse or Ernest Hemingway or see Jackie Gleason hold court or see Judy Garland sitting in a corner. More than anything, though, he might hear what was happening in his town, what mattered, and Vin Scullly needed to know these things. He felt sure they made him a better baseball announcer.