Scully, Jarrin honored at Dodgertown
Veteran broadcasters have fond memories of Vero Beach
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- They are the greatest broadcasting tandem in baseball.
And before Sunday's game with the Red Sox, in another Farewell to Dodgertown tribute, the organization recognized Hall of Famers Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin during a ceremony in front of the largest crowd in Dodgertown Spring Training history (9,293).
Together, they have literally seen and described it all, Scully for 59 of Dodgertown's 61 years, Jarrin for the last 50.
"No place in the world holds more memories for me," said Scully. "This is where I stood in place and it seems like half the world came by -- players, coaches, managers, writers, broadcasters."
Few teams boast even one legendary voice and the Dodgers have two. They looked back on more than half a century of memories of Dodgertown and Vero Beach, a place Jarrin said he will greatly miss.
"I love this place," he said. "It's so serene, the weather is great. I've watched superstars and rookies. Moving to Arizona is the right thing to do because the fans are the No. 1 priority. It will be great, but I will miss Vero Beach."
Scully reminisced about his early days at Dodgertown, rooming with the likes of the late general manager Al Campanis and then-coach Leo Durocher. When Scully first reported to Dodgertown, there were 26 Minor League clubs and 750 players. He recalled the first game played and said he was glad Red Barber was at the mike when the Philadelphia Athletics hit into a triple play.
"He was so effortless," Scully said of Barber. "It just rolled off like it was nothing."
Scully described how Dodgertown back then was "remarkably homogenized," with rookies and superstars and ownership eating at the same "Chow Hall." He talked about the racial barriers that had to be removed, and he noted that the final game this spring will be played on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, noting the "irony" in that St. Patrick's Day was always the most celebrated day of Spring Training, "[Owner] Walter O'Malley being as Irish as he was."
Scully said he has asked Dodgertown vice president Craig Callan to save him a street sign from "Vin Scully Way" as a "reminder."
Jarrin called Scully "my mentor, friend, teacher. He's been so helpful, without him I don't know. I've captured some of his style. I'm not a screamer or a houseman. Nobody will ever be as Vin Scully is, the best ever."
Jarrin is the same to the Spanish-speaking audience. Jarrin's most unforgettable Dodgertown memory came in 1991, when he was nearly killed in an auto accident in Vero Beach. He recalled spending four months in the hospital, seven weeks in intensive care and was later told that he had only an eight percent chance for survival.
"It was a very trying time for my wife, Blanca, but the Dodgers were very kind," he said.
He recalled with fondness his half-century coming to Florida Spring Trainings, and particularly the 1980s and the arrival of Fernando Valenzuela, who he credited with "creating more new baseball fans" than any player before or since, bringing soccer and boxing fans from Mexico and Central America who were "indifferent" to baseball and making them baseball fans. Jarrin said it was sad that O'Malley died one year before Valenzuela's arrival, because O'Malley had predicted that one day he would have "a Mexican Sandy Koufax."
"He would have been in heaven seeing Fernando doing what he did," he said.
Jarrin credited Valenzuela for making him a recognizable face among Anglos as Valenzuela's interpreter in interviews, which contributed to his Hall of Fame recognition, which in turn has helped elevate the respect shown to Spanish broadcasters for all teams.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.