Ken Korach and A’s Recall Vin Scully’s Lasting Impact


ANAHEIM — Like so many others, Oakland Athletics broadcaster Ken Korach grew up with Vin Scully recounting his baseball summers.

The Los Angeles-born Korach remembers watching the Dodgers play at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the team’s home for its first four seasons on the West Coast. His father was a high school baseball coach, Korach said Wednesday, and the Dodgers would offer passes to local coaches.

“And there were plenty of transistor radios because we were always sitting, miles off the pitch” in the first football stadium, Korach said. “People who listen to Vin at the ballpark. And you didn’t need to bring a radio to listen to Vin.

Scully, the legendary voice of the Dodgers, died Tuesday night at the age of 94. Its impact extends to the current A’s clubhouse – and the radio booth, of course, where Korach and Vince Cotroneo learned of Scully’s death in the sixth inning of the A’s-Angels. game Tuesday.

Korach said his first “indelible” memory of a Scully show is of Sandy Koufax’s perfect match in 1965, which the 13-year-old heard at a friend’s house. Korach met and interviewed Scully in 1997 for a pregame show.

“It was probably as exciting a time as ever,” Korach said, “aside from the birth of our child and our wedding.”

A principle Scully enunciated: “Credibility is number 1,” Korach said. “He played it in the middle. He always gave the other team their due. He said: “If you always say everything is fine with your team, it will never matter if something great happens.” I tried to carry that with me on my shows. And I think there’s a tradition of that in the Bay Area. Bill (King) was like that.

Scully has called many great moments. He was also known for weaving stories that could liven up even the most mundane games — a reflection of diligent preparation, Korach said.

One example, Korach said: With the A’s at Dodger Stadium for an interleague series, shortly before Scully’s retirement, Scully hid in the visitors’ radio booth to ask about the pitching coach of the time, Curt Young.

“I said, ‘Vin, you’re really hustling,'” Korach said. “He says, ‘That’s what we’re doing. We tie it all together. And when Curt Young goes to the mound to visit one of the A’s pitchers, I’d feel bad if I couldn’t tell the story of when Curt Young was on that same mound to pitch the A’s in the Series. 1988 World Cup.'”

A’s manager, Mark Kotsay, of Southern California, recalled that when he played the Dodgers as a player, Scully often talked about Kotsay’s father as a motorcycle policeman in the Los Angeles area. Shortstop Elvis Andrus said meeting Scully was top of his list the first time he faced the Dodgers with the Rangers: “I was like a little kid. I just wanted to hear his voice.

Bench coach Brad Ausmus’ playing career ended with the Dodgers. But Ausmus said his best memory of Scully came later, when Ausmus worked for the Padres and saw Scully at a game at Petco Park.

“I happened to have my family with me,” Ausmus said. “Vin was walking through the garage with us, got up, ‘Brad, great to see you, let me meet your family.’ Couldn’t be a nicer human being.

A’s first base coach Eric Martins, born in East LA and raised in Whittier, said Dodger games on the radio were a staple in his house or backyard. Martins then met Scully while researching the A’s and snapped a photo, which he posted to Twitter on Tuesday and said was “one of my most treasured possessions.”

“In LA you had Chick Hearn with the Lakers, but Vin Scully was the man,” Martins said. “It’s the voice that sticks in my head every time I think about baseball.”

Matt Kawahara covers the A’s for The San Francisco Chronicle.


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