In 1950, CBS broadcast the first television program in color. The Diner's Club card became the first "credit card" to be accepted at multiple retail establishments. The Soviet Union began putting nuclear missiles on submarines. And Vin Scully began announcing Dodgers baseball games.
The team was in Brooklyn, and Red Barber was its other announcer. In 1953, Barber went to work for the rival New York Yankees, and Scully took over as the Dodgers' primary play-by-play man. He has continued in this role for 65 years, and announced Tuesday night that he will return next year for his 66th season.
Scully is already a legend in the game. He is the youngest-ever World Series broadcaster (he was 25 when he announced the World Series in 1953). He is one of the few baseball announcers who broadcasts all nine innings, by himself. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. No one in sports broadcasting is more beloved. And no one has endured more tragedy with greater faith.
Scully grew up in New York City, the child of a devout Roman Catholic homemaker. He has been a committed Catholic Christian since childhood. His faith was severely tested in 1972 when his 35-year-old wife died of an accidental medical overdose, leaving him with three children. In 1994, his oldest son died in a helicopter crash at the age of 33.
How has he coped with such loss? According to Scully, "the worst thing you can do in times of trial is to stop praying. The tough moments are when you need God the most. He's always there and more than happy to give us his help; we need only ask for it. There are so many good things about the Church, but that might be the most essential thing I've learned from it: the importance of continual communication with God."
Vin Scully is not unique in his commitment to Jesus and the power of prayer, of course. But he has a unique platform by which to make that commitment public. He has lived with such integrity that Los Angeles and the larger baseball world venerate him. When his return for next season was announced at the Dodgers game, the crowd of nearly 50,000 gave him a 75-second standing ovation. His decision made headlines in the sports world, and continues to be discussed today.
You may not speak to millions of listeners for 66 years, but God has given you a voice that is just as unique for those you influence. Do you know your Kingdom assignment? Are you submitted to God's Spirit and call on your life today? Do you believe that the Father will use your every act of obedience for his eternal glory and your greatest good?
When Dodgers fans finally ended their ovation Tuesday night, Vin Scully responded simply: "All I can say is thank God and please God for another year." Thank God and please God—I don't know a better way to live today. Do you?
Publication date: July 31, 2014
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