Out of the Park

July 21, 2023

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It took Hank Aaron 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. Later he said, “I did it one afternoon on the golf course.”

One of my favourite baseball voices is that of L.A. Dodgers announcer, Vin Scully, who passed away in 2022—at 94. Vin was celebrated for his gift of storytelling, his mastery of the graceful phrase and his unashamed trust in God. For 67 summers he welcomed listeners to “pull up a chair” as he brought their imaginations to life.

He was there in 1974 when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record. “What a marvelous moment for the country and the world,” he said. “A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South.”

“The impossible has happened” Scully often said. And the phrase summarized his life. Vin’s son Michael died in a helicopter crash. His first wife died, then his second—of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

When a reporter asked how he kept focused, he answered, “Thank God, my faith has always kept things in perspective. Completely. It has not wavered…I’ve had some pain in my life [but] faith is the one thing that…makes me keep going.” His minister made him laugh. “I said to him one morning: ‘…how are you?’ He said, ‘Well, I could be taller.’”

In Vin’s first year of grammar school, a nun whacked his knuckles with a ruler if he used his left hand. His mother had a doctor write a letter, “If you force this boy to write right-handed…it could very well cause him to stutter.” So Vin grew up left-handed. He said, “God only knows what I would have done if I had developed a stutter.”

Scully’s smooth voice became a backyard companion for millions. Many said, “When I hear your voice I think of summer nights with my Dad in the backyard.”

Vin once talked about Heaven with a reporter, “You know, this isn’t the only stop on the train. There’s one big one we’re still waiting for. I think about that every week when I’m in line to receive Communion.”

During his final sign off, Mr. Scully said, “[This is] what I wish for you: May God give you for every storm, a rainbow, for every tear, a smile, for every care, a promise, and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life’s seen, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh, a sweet song, and an answer for each prayer… This is Vin Scully wishing you a pleasant afternoon wherever you may be.”

Whatever our sphere of influence we can knock it out of the park when we live lives worthy of the calling we have received (Ephesians 1:4).

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