Monday, April 23, 2007

A Voice from the Past

This morning I heard a delightful feature on NPR's Morning Edition. It is the story of how Jim Governale found a box of old reel-to-reel tapes in his grandmother's garage and on one of them was a recording of Vin Scully calling the Mets at the Dodgers on June 30, 1962. This was Sandy Koufax's first no-hitter of his storied career. The first of four in four consecutive seasons.

Until now, it was assumed that there was no archived recording of the event.

This story satisfies on so many levels: the generational connections, the stats and trivia, and the timelessness of baseball.

The tape was made by Governale's father on his grandfather's machine. One can easily imagine a kid just fooling around with the equipment perhaps plopping a mic in front of the radio and ending up recording this historic moment...and then preserving it in a box labeled with a headline cut out from the next day's sports page...and then the tape landing in a box in the back of a garage where it would sit for thirty years.

In addition to the complete story, you can link over to recorded excerpts of Scully's play by play of the final inning. There are so many things to savor: the articulate descriptions of the play, the players and the crowd; the drama of the moment. Scully said so much with so few words. Any writer would stand in awe. In many ways, radio was made for baseball. A good announcer could bring you into the park via the imagination in a way that television (or a web-cast) cannot. Listen, close your eyes and be transported.

NPR: Recorded History: Vin Scully Calls a Koufax Milestone


Andrew Gerns said...

A comment sent by e-mail:

I really enjoyed the recording of Vin Scully calling that game in 1962 and it brought back a lot of memories, as it was supposed to I guess. I grew up in the 1950's on Long Island, NY, probably the best time for NY baseball. The potato fields were being converted to housing developments which gave us kids great places for sandlot baseball. We lived far enough out on the island so that WPIX Channel 11 (Yankees) and WOR (Dodgers/Giants) were too far away to watch the games clearly. This was the time of Vin Scully, Red Barber, and Mel Allen would call games.
I had forgotten how these people would paint a clear and colorful verbal picture of the action and that the background sounds of the crowd would add depth and 'presence' to the scene. In your mind you could see the green grass and the base paths, the batter in the batter's box and the pitcher scoping out the batter. They created the sense of the duel between the batter and pitcher that makes baseball great. With the mental images they painted for us, we could see Willy Mays make his famous basket catch in center field of the Polo Grounds, picture Roy Campenella throwing out ANOTHER runner trying to steal second, see Mickey Mantle ding a baseball off the roof of old Yankee Stadium, and feel the tension as Don Larsen pitched his perfect game in the 1956 World Series. It was a wonderful, God-given talent these men had, in all baseball cities, and that talent made baseball come alive and made it a part of American culture.

It was a wonderful time to be a baseball fan - and it is missed - especially by those in my generation.

Thanks for reading,
Br. Chad-Anselm, OSB

Janis Bland said...

This was a fun NPR piece. I'm not a baseball fan, nor a sports fan in general, but the history being preserved by a boy fooling around with an old recorder was such a hoot.

Now I must ponder your subsequent post connecting this with the Gospel.

Janis, sister of Ann in St. Mary's (Grace Church).