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1999 Sportscaster of the Year Finalists

Members' Corner

So Long Jimmy

ball.gif (889 bytes) Pride of the Dodgers

 

Members' Corner

Taken from the Members' Corner section of the June 1998 Insiders Sportsletter.

ASA member Jerry Canaan can tell you from experience that changing professions is never easy, but the end result can be very rewarding. Canaan recently iced his legal career to become the radio and TV personality of the Augusta Lynx hockey team of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).

Canaan, who received his law degree in 1991 from the University of Richmond, clerked for two years with the Supreme Court of Virginia before going into private practice. He also taught entertainment and copyright law at J. Sargeant Community College. Although his career seemed promising, Canaan soon realized that practicing law was not what he really wanted to do.

While attending a career counseling course, Canaan discovered two things: his love of sports and his passion for performing.

When he combined these interests, sports broadcasting seemed to be a logical career to pursue. Canaan began taking weekend classes at the Columbia School of Broadcasting, in Arlington, where he received positive feedback about his broadcasting ability. He also attended a sportscasting seminar in Los Angeles, where he was also praised for his work.

Soon after, Canaan called Andy Davis, voice of the Richmond Renegades of the ECHL, and offered his services just to gain experience. Surprisingly, Davis allowed Canaan to handle some of his radio broadcasts. Canaan also hooked up with the Virginia News Network, agreeing to do the weekend grave yard shift while still practicing law full time and teaching his classes.

Canaan's big chance to leave his law practice behind for good came when he learned that the Lynx hockey team, formerly of Raleigh, NC, was relocating to Augusta, GA, and was in need of a radio and TV man. Out of a highly competitive field of applicants, Canaan landed the job. He will be calling the action for the Lynx when they begin play in the ECHL in the fall.

So Long, Jimmy, And Lots of Good Luck, Ya Heah!

 Long Time Indian Broadcaster Jimmy Dudley Dies In Tucson at Age 89

Submitted by Advisory Board Member Gary McKillips, February 23rd, 1999

 If you're a baby boomer and grew up in Cleveland, there is no doubt you remember Indian broadcaster Jimmy Dudley, who died last week at age 89 in Tucson.

"So long, and lots of good luck, ya heah!" was Dudley's signature close to all Indian broadcasts…broadcasts he opened with "Hello baseball fans everywhere."

In between those lines was sandwiched some of the best baseball play-by-play of all time. Jimmy Dudley was the Indians from 1948 to 1969, when he was unceremoniously dismissed by Tribe General Manager Gabe Paul. Reacting to a power play by Bob Neal, Dudley's play-by-play partner, Paul brought Herb Score from TV to radio and left the Voice of the Indians for some 20 years without a team at the start of the 1970 campaign.

Dudley began with the Indians when Cleveland baseball history had reached a crescendo. It was the year of the Tribe's storied World Series victory over the Boston Braves and the never-to-be forgotten one game playoff with the Red Sox. Bill Veeck was the owner of the Indians, and another broadcasting legend, former Indian shortstop JackGraney, was Dudley's sidekick in the booth.

Not only did Cleveland race to the pennant, outdueling the Sox and the mighty Yankees, they did it before behemoth crowds at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, as Dudley would say, "on the shores of beautiful Lake Erie."

By 1954, Dudley had emerged as the Number One Indians broadcaster, although Graney continued in the booth. Again Cleveland had a season to remember. It was a season that saw the Indians finish ahead of their arch nemesis Yankees, but lose to the New York Giants and Willie Mays in four games. The Series will be forever remembered for Willie Mays' over-the-head catch of a VicWertz drive, that could have changed the outcome of Game One and perhaps the entire Series.

As it turned out, however, that game and that Series set the tone for the remainder of Dudley's broadcasting career in Cleveland. In the next 13 years only once, in 1959, did the Tribe make a serious run at the pennant. Frank "Trader" Lane was general manager and "the Rock" -Rocky Colavito- was the hero on the field that year. In fact, the charismatic Colavito was both hero and heartthrob, the idol of millions of fans in Northeast Ohio. Unfortunately, even with the Rock, who hit 42 home runs, and Tito Francona, who came off the bench to hit .363, the Indians were no match for the "Go-Go" White Sox of Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox. It was a season of heartbreak for Indian fans and particularly for Dudley, who, in the game that eliminated the Tribe from contention, actually dropped the call for a split second as first baseman Vic Power grounded out to end the team's pennant hopes with five games remaining.

Not only were the Indians out of the race, "Trader" Lane sent Colavito to Detroit for Harvey Kuehn in a post-season deal that sent the Indians spiraling into oblivion for the next two decades.

Despite this, and the fact that the Indians would play to home crowds that sometimes numbered in the hundreds, Dudley continued to resonate.

He was born in Virginia and his southern accent had a rythmic lilt. Many of sports' greatest broadcasters (Mel Allen, Red Barber, Ernie Harwell, Lindsey Nelson) had Southern roots. Dudley was perhaps the most melodic of them all.

He complimented the nature rhythm of his voice with catch phrases such as, for a 3-2 count, "the string is out."

There was a dark side to Dudley's tenure in Cleveland. While he loved the fans and the fans loved him, he and his third partner in the booth, Bob Neal, never got along. In fact, they never spoke. While other broadcast teams (Bob Elson and Don Wells in Chicago; Bob Prince and Jim Woods in Pittsburgh) would conduct a constant banter throughout the game, Dudley and Neal were never heard together. Neal was perhaps the more versatile of the two as a football broadcaster, morning radio host and sports commentator, but Dudley remained the Indians Number 1 voice. Dudley did the first three innings and the last three of every game. Neal found himself in the small, overhanging press box at Municipal Stadium for the middle three innings, something that ate at him constantly. It was Neal's frustration, coupled with his front office clout that unseated Dudley in February 1970, just prior to the start of a new season.

With such short notice, Dudley was unable to land a play-by-play position in 1970, but the following year he resurfaced in Seattle as voice of the new Pilots franchise. But the franchise fizzled after one season, leaving Dudley again without a major league play-by-play assignment.

He moved to his beloved Tucson, where the Indians had trained until their recent move to Florida. Jimmy did some broadcasting for the Toros Triple A team and Arizona State baseball, but his days as a major league broadcaster were over.

He returned to Cleveland from time to time to do commercials for an aluminum siding company, but he and wife Angie found life quite accommodating in the desert. It was only in the past few years that the Alzheimer's with which he was afflicted took a serious toll. Jimmy was unable to attend last year when he was inducted into the Broadcaster's Wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He was represented by family members.

It is said, however, that Jimmy Dudley knew of his enshrinement and knew that baseball and its fans had given back a small part of what he gave to them as the Voice of the Tribe and one of the game's broadcasting legends.

Gary McKillips is a free-lance broadcaster and writer based in Knoxville, Tennessee. He also is head of public relations for the University of Tennessee and previously was vice-president of corporate and sports PR for Turner Broadcasting System. Gary grew up in Cleveland listening to Jimmy Dudley.

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Pride of the Dodgers

(The following article originally appeared in the 1999 Los Angeles Dodgers Media Guide. It was edited for americansportscasters.com by ASA Advisory Board Member Gary McKillips with the permission of the Dodgers. For the complete article or more information on the Dodgers, visit www.dodgers.com)

Two baseball legends, broadcaster Vin Scully and manager Tommy Lasorda, begin their 50th year with the Dodgers this season.

Both members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Scully has come to represent the tranquility of the game, while Lasorda mirrors its competitive side.

Scully called himself a mere "observer." but his accounts of some Dodgers greatest moments have become as a soundtrack for the ages.

Lasorda combined fun, motivation, comedy and strategy to fashion a career as a winner on the field and a bonvivant off. His office was a melting pot where Hollywood stars would mingle with players-and none would walk away hungry.

Scully became interested in baseball when he listened to games on a furniture-sized radio in his living room. His favorite announcer was Red Barber, whose southern accent and homespun tales gave a distinct flavor to Brooklyn Dodger broadcasts.

Following graduation from Fordham, Scully landed a job as back-up to his idol Barber, and learned not only more about his easy going style, but his ability to remain objective. Said Scully, "I was aware the first few times I heard my voice, it was better if I saw things with my eyes and not with my heart. I did not want emotion to color my facts."

Although Barber left the Dodgers after the 1953 season, his influence remained as Scully developed into one of the premier broadcasters of his generation.

Former Dodger Manager Buzzi Bavasi said, "Vin Scully taught people in Los Angeles about baseball. He was one of those rated as vitally important in making the Dodgers as popular as they are today."

Scully was inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame in 1992. The Hall of Fame is located in the MCI Center’s National Sports Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Lasorda also came from humble beginnings. As a pitcher, he was never good enough to make it to the big leagues for any length of time, having appeared in only 26 games with Brooklyn and the Kansas City Athletics.

After his brief pitching career ended, he became a scout in the Dodger organization and in 1965 received his first managerial assignment with the Dodgers rookie league team in Pocatello, Idaho. While Lasorda’s instructions were to groom talent, he could never change his attitude about winning. In his autobiography "The Artful Dodger," Lasorda said, "Telling me I didn’t have to win was like telling the Wright Brothers to take a train."

Lasorda did win several minor league championships and developed future stars such as Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Bill Buckner.

He continued that success during his 20-year reign as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, bringing the city World Series titles in 1981 and 1988.

Columnist Jim Murray summed it up best when he said, "What would baseball be without Tommy? A meal without wine. A day without sunshine A dance with your sister... Any cliche you want."

Lasorda created many of baseball’s greatest moments on the field. Scully captures those moments from the broadcast booth. Together they represent a century of memories for the Dodger franchise and for baseball fans everywhere.

Lasorda served as Master of Ceremonies for the 1994 and 1995 ASA Hall of Fame Awards Dinners, during which time Keith Jackson and Chick Hearn were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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-1992 ASA Hall of Fame Inductee Vin Scully
with ASA President Lou Schwartz and Los Angeles Dodgers Senior Vice President
Tommy Lasorda during the Eighth Annual ASA Hall of Fame awards dinner,
December 3, 1992.

 

 

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