Without a doubt, Vin Scully is the gold standard for baseball broadcasting. His 67-year career calling play-by-play for Dodgers games, first in Brooklyn, and then in Los Angeles, is testament to that.
“The Fordham Thrush with a .400 larynx,” Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray once wrote.
“The best ever,” fellow broadcaster Ernie Harwell said in 2009.
In addition to bringing baseball fans a wealth of memorable calls, Scully, 92, has amassed a marvelous collection of memorabilia.
A large chunk of that collection will go on sale during Hunt Auctions’ All-Star Live Internet Auction, which takes place Sept. 23. The sale was originally scheduled for July 14, during baseball’s All-Star weekend, but had to be moved online when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Hunt Auctions is showcasing 305 pieces of Scully memorabilia, which include bats, balls, baseball cards, trophies and scorebooks. There are four World Series rings, including the 1955 jewelry from the Dodgers’ only title in Brooklyn, along with the 1988 World Series ring, which could fetch one of the higher prices during the auction.
“I would much rather treasure the memories,” Scully told The Associated Press.
Thirty of the lots are related to U.S. presidents, including a PSA-graded handwritten letter from George H.W. Bush, two signed baseballs and an autographed letter from Ronald Reagan, and a signed photograph and a typewritten letter signed by Barack Obama.
There is also the Jan. 4, 1950, news release announcing Scully’s hiring as a Brooklyn Dodgers broadcaster, and a 1968 book, “Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat,” autographed by his mentor, Red Barber. Scully is also auctioning off a letter Barber wrote to him in 1978.
The scorebook Scully used during his final broadcasting season in 2016 is also part of the auction.
“It’s not just a collection of cold, inanimate objects,” Scully told the AP. “There are things that mean a great deal to me, but now it’s time to let someone else treasure them.”
David Hunt, the president of Hunt Auctions, said Scully “has such a special meaning to so many people.”
“Vin Scully is one of the most iconic figures in baseball history,” Hunt said. “Vin’s ability to make you feel as part of the game itself, part of a family, and with an uncommon humility was his unique genius. The honor to associate with Vin Scully for this very special offering is without question one of the most significant in our 30-year company history.”
Speaking by telephone Friday afternoon, Hunt said the Scully lots are “a truly unique collection.”
“Being able to converse with Vin Scully and hearing those stories from him, it gives you chills,” Hunt said. “He is such a unique person. He really crosses over several genres.”
“It seemed to be the right time to help everybody,” Scully told the AP. “We’re trying to do as much as possible before I hopefully go to heaven.”
The rest of the proceeds will be donated to UCLA for neuromuscular research. Scully’s wife suffers from a condition related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“For 67 years, I have been blessed to have fulfilled a childhood dream of broadcasting baseball,” Scully said in the Hunt Auctions news release. “My journey began in Brooklyn with the likes of Duke Snider and Jackie Robinson and finished with Kirk Gibson and Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles. The sport has given a redheaded kid playing stickball in the streets of New York even more than he had nerve to pray for and allows my wife Sandi and me to contribute some assistance to neuromuscular research at UCLA to which my family is proud to support. This auction contains pieces of my life and dreams as well as baseball memories. Here’s hoping they will be enjoyed by many.”
The All-Star Live Auction sale will also include the fourth installment of the Green Diamond Gallery Collection. The private collection was put together by Bob Crotty, of Dayton, Ohio, over a 50-year span.
Also part of the sale will be personal items from Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, including his 1990 World Series presentation trophy, four Silver Slugger awards and two of his Gold Glove awards, all achieved during his career with the Cincinnati Reds.
Online bidding is available on the Hunt Auctions website. The Live Auction is open for online pre-bidding until Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 10 p.m. EDT.