LOS ANGELES — Vin Scully’s 67th and final season as voice of the Brooklyn-turned-Los Angeles Dodgers has made his broadcast booth at the stadium in Chavez Ravine a must-stop for the game’s biggest names.
That was no different Wednesday, when Bryce Harper, the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player and cornerstone of the NL East-leading Washington Nationals, paid Scully a visit prior to the Nationals-Dodgers game broadcast on Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN.
The 23-year-old Harper and 88-year-old Scully spent approximately 15-20 minutes together. Harper was dressed in his jersey, sweat shorts and hat, while Scully wore a white shirt and tie, impeccable as always.
Scully, back from a one-day hiatus due to a cold, embraced the outfielder, then regaled Harper with anecdote after anecdote from his days behind the microphone that date back to 1950.
Harper later posted a photo of his visit to Instagram and included more recollections of Scully’s broadcasts.
I remember growing up turning on the television and or radio broadcast hearing the amazing and wonderful voice of Mr. Scully talking not only about the players numbers or how they were doing that year, but the stories of life and beyond that! He will not only forever be part of the @dodgers, but also all around the game of baseball..Thank you for the memories and all the incredible things you taught people on and off the air! 🙌🏼 Thank you Vin #Legend #Dodgers #MLB
A photo posted by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on Jun 22, 2016 at 4:17pm PDT
Scully told Harper about his favorite player growing up — Mel Ott (“512 home runs,” Scully said matter-of-factly). The Ford C. Frick Award winner relayed how, as a youngster who had once dreamed of playing pro ball, he had imitated Ott’s batting stance , specifically the famed leg kick. As he spoke, up went the leg, as Harper stood laughing. Scully, also laughing, lamented that as much as he tried, something somehow got lost in translation between the hands and the bat swing, and it was then that he knew he was not destined to be the next Ott.
Scully told Harper to imagine nowadays how many countless children stand in front of mirrors pretending to be … Bryce Harper. The Nationals star beamed.
Harper asked about Scully’s health, about his decision to step away, about the number of games the announcer has called (Scully said he has been told it’s perhaps 9,000).
The Nationals (43-29, first in the NL East) were visiting the Dodgers (40-33, second in NL West) in the third of a three-game set.
Dusty Baker, the former Dodger and Harper’s current manager, soon joined the duo in the crowded booth. Scully, posing for photographs and signing baseballs for Baker, was overjoyed.
“Johnnie B!” he said fondly.
The three posed for pictures as Scully thanked Harper for coming upstairs from the clubhouse, noting it was likely the first, and last, time.