Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully died Tuesday at the age of 94.
Here’s a throwback to Scully’s call from the Dodgers pitcher’s last inning Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in September. 9, 1965:
“Three times in his sensational career, Sandy Koufax made it to the mound to throw a fateful ninth where he returned a no-hitter. But tonight, September 9, 1965, he rode the toughest run of his career. , I’m sure of it, because in eight innings he pitched a perfect game, he struck out 11, he struck out 24 in a row, and the first man he’ll look at is the catcher. Chris Krugbig right-handed hitter, stolen at second, grounded short. Dick Tracewski is now at second base and Koufax ready and delivers: curve ball for a hit.
“Oh-and-a count for Chris Krug. On the bridge to pinch there is one of the men we mentioned earlier as possible, Joey Amalfiano. Here’s the hit from a pitch to Krug: fastball, swung and missed, hit two. And you can almost feel the pressure now. Koufax looked up, ran his fingers through his black hair, then lowered his head as he busied himself with the bill. Krug must feel it too as he steps back, sighs, takes off his helmet, puts it back on and steps back towards the plate. Tracewski is on his right to fill in the middle, Kennedy is deep to keep the line. The strike two throw on the way: fastball, outside, ball one. Krug started chasing him and held on and Torborg held the ball high in the air trying to convince Vargo [the umpire] but Eddie said no sir. One and two count it down to Chris Krug. It is 9:41 p.m. on September 9. The one-two throw on the way: curveball, tapped foul left of the plate.
Dodgers defensively in thorny moment: Sandy Koufax and Jeff Torborg. The boys who will try to stop anything they can get their hands on: Wes ParkerDick Tracewski, Maury Wills and John Kennedy; the outfield of Lou Johnson, Willie Davis and Ron enough. And there are twenty-nine thousand people in the stadium and a million butterflies. Twenty-nine thousand one hundred and thirty-nine paid.
“Koufax in his liquidation and throwing it one-two: fastball, offside return foul. In the Dodger dugout In Ferrara gets up and down near the track, and it starts to get hard to be a teammate and sit in the dugout and have to watch. Sandy rubber back, holding the toes. All the boys in the bullpen strain to see better as they peer through the wire fence into left field. One and two count it down to Chris Krug. Koufax, feet together, now on to his liquidation and throwing one-two: fastball outside, ball two. (The crowd boos on the tape.)
“A lot of people in the stadium are now starting to see the pitches with their hearts. The pitch was out, Torborg tried to shoot him over the plate but Vargo, an experienced referee, wouldn’t. Two and two counts him to Chris Krug Sandy reads signs, in his windup, throw two-two: fastball, that got him swinging.
“Sandy Koufax struck out twelve. He’s two strikeouts away from a perfect game.
“Here’s Joe Amalfitano to pinch for Don Kessinger. Amalfitano comes from southern California, from San Pedro. He was an original bonus boy with the Giants. Joey’s been there, and as we mentioned earlier, he helped beat the Dodgers twice, and on the east deck Harvey Kuen. Kennedy is tight to the bag at third, the fastball, a strike. Oh and one out in the ninth inning, 1-0, Dodgers. Sandy reads, in her windup and hitting her with a pitch: curveball, foul tapped, Oh and two. And Amalfitano walks away and shakes himself a bit, and swings the bat. And Koufax with a new ball, snags his belt and walks behind the mound.
“I think the Dodger Stadium mound is the loneliest place in the world right now. Sandy fidgets, looks for his sign, Oh and two to Amalfitano. Shot two thrown at Joe: fastball, swung and missed , shot three. He is at a distance from the promised land, and Harvey Kuenn arrives.
“So Harvey Kuenn beats for Bob Hendley. The time on the scoreboard is 9:44. The date, September 9, 1965, and Koufax working on veteran Harvey Kuenn. Sandy in his wind up and the pitch, a fastball for a strike. He struck out, by the way, five batters in a row, and it went unnoticed. Sandy ready and the strike of a throw: very high, and he lost his hat. I really forced this one. It’s only the second time tonight that I’ve felt like Sandy threw instead of throwing, trying to get that little bit extra, and that time he tried so hard his hat fell off – he took an extremely long step towards the plate – and Torborg had to climb to get it.
“One and one to Harvey Kuenn. Now he’s ready: fastball, high, ball two. You can’t blame a man for pushing just a little now. Sandy steps back, wipes her forehead, runs her left index finger along her forehead, dries it on her left trouser leg. All this time, Kuenn has been just waiting. Now Sandy looks inside. In his liquidation and throwing it two-one to Kuenn: swung and missed, hit two. It’s 9:46 p.m.
“Two and two for Harvey Kuenn, one shot. Sandy in his liquidation, here’s the pitch:
“Chained and missed, a perfect match! (Crowd applauds for 38 seconds)
“On the bulletin board in right field, it’s 9:46 p.m. in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, Calif. And a crowd of 29,139 seated to see the only pitcher in baseball history to pitch four games without no hits or runs. He did it four straight years, and now he’s crowning it: on his fourth no-hitter, he made it a perfect game. And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with flying colors. I’ve struck out the last six consecutive batters. So when he writes his name in all caps in the record books, that “K” stands out even more than the OUFAX.