Joe Torre and Commissioner Rob Manfred on Vin
By Cary Osborne
On November 5, 2007, Joe Torre put on a Dodger jersey for the first time. He stood on a stage on the outfield grass at Dodger Stadium and cinched the uniform top up button by button while a voice introduced him as the eighth manager in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
“That was pretty cool,” Torre said on Friday reflecting on Scully emceeing his introductory press conference.
Torre, the Dodger manager from 2008-2010 and now MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, returned to Dodger Stadium on Friday along with Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to pay tribute on Vin Scully Appreciation Day.
“It’s the end of an era, and I’m happy to say it was a long era for Vin because it just never got stale,” Torre said. “I just respect the man so much. And I was grateful for the three years I had here where I could hang with him a little bit.”
Commissioner Manfred spoke about Scully in terms of his unique impact on the game.
“He is the unique part of our history,” Manfred said. “When you think about it, 67 years to do anything is just phenomenal, and to be the best at it for 67 years is really some sort of accomplishment in terms of a career.
“It’s amazing when to think about it,” Manfred continued. “You think of Vin’s place in history. There are two non-players who have gotten the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award. Right? Rachel Robinson and Vin Scully. There’s a certain poeticness to that. It’s really a great pairing when you think about it.”
Twelve players, including Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr. and Roberto Clemente, have received the award, which is given out at the commissioner’s discretion. Then Commissioner Bud Selig honored Scully with the award in 2014.
Manfred offered a thought that Scully is the last of his kind — a broadcaster who does all nine innings, and sometimes, more by himself.
Torre, a former broadcaster with the California Angels, also chimed in about Scully’s unique qualities.
“He’s one of a kind, this man,” Torre said. “I always admired him. I never tried to imitate him because I knew I’d finish far short of where I needed to get. But the thing is he has a conversation. There are a lot of announcers who like to yell and get people excited that way. He can get people excited by just building the suspense.
“And the one line that I think everybody or most people feel is one of the most memorable was the Kirk Gibson (1988 World Series Game 1 home run). The guy comes up and surprises you with a home run (and you say), ‘In the year of improbable, the impossible happened.’ There it came out just like — molasses.”