Dear Vinny

I know your first name is really Vincent, and most often you go by just Vin. But I hope it’s OK for me to call you Vinny because I’ve known you since I was a little boy. “Vinny” just seems right for those boyhood memories. And what memories they are. It was you who introduced me to Sandy, Don, Ron, Junior, Johnny, Wally, Maury, and the rest of those 25 boys of summer that became my lifelong heroes.

You provided me with my boyhood dreams. I need to tell you… because of you, the game became a passion for me way back when. I guess it is still a passion. Every summer in those boyhood days, I lived for baseball. I played in the sandlots near home and into formalized Little League. Like a lot of boys, I dreamed of someday making the Dodgers and having you call out my name. I was pretty good, but not that good. Just the same, many of the fondest memories of my youth are of those days playing ball. Thank you for giving me that.

Any time I could, I would listen to your broadcasts. I’ll never forget you describing Sandy’s devastating curve ball… or his fastball on the “lower outside corner”. Even though I couldn’t be at the game and little was televised, I could still see Sandy’s pitch in my “mind’s eye”. And for Dodger home runs, I can still hear your voice saying, “It’s a long hit ball… it’s way out there… it’s gone”. Of course, I only remember those calls for Dodger home runs, because I’m still sure the other guys never hit a single home run while you were announcing. And of course no Dodger fan can ever forget when you called the greatest “walk off home run” ever in 1988… when the impossible happened… “Gibby” (Kirk Gibson) hit it over the fence. As the ball cleared the fence you called, “She – is… gone”. Thank you for bringing that to life for me.

I’ve been around the world, lived in many different places but in all of these years since my boyhood I have remained a Dodger fan. No matter what city I lived in, I could never join with the local fans in rooting for anyone else. In more recent years Cable TV, internet radio and the like has enabled me to keep up with “Dem Bums”. (Though I never knew them as the Brooklyn Dodgers, I think I’m still allowed to use that term.) So it is with both sadness and joy for me that you have ended your career as the Dodgers announcer.

I say sadness for obvious reasons… you have been the voice of Dodger Baseball for my entire lifetime. Without your voice it won’t be quite the same.

But I’m also happy to have had you in my ear for all the years… more than anyone could have ever expected. What a career it was… 67 years with the Dodgers. You’ve had so many accolades that all I can add is WOW. I’m happy that you can now enjoy time doing whatever you wish. But mostly I’m happy for you having made Dodger Baseball my pastime. Without you it would have never been the same… I might have even become a Yankee fan. Well… maybe not those Damned Yankees.

Like every Dodger fan out there, I hope you do come back and visit us once in a while… maybe for the first game of the season at “Chavez Ravine” between the Dodgers and those dastardly Giants. Or maybe just for the first game of the season we can just hear you say, “It’s time for Dodger Baseball”.

I wish you all the best and like every Dodger fan… I’m happy to have “known” you.

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