“The game of baseball has a handful of signature sounds,” President Obama said at the White House ceremony. “You hear the crack of the bat, you got the crowd singing in the seventh-inning stretch, and you’ve got the voice of Vin Scully.”
He praised Scully’s engaging style, saying “generations of Dodgers fans brought their radios into the stands because you didn’t want to miss one of Vin’s stories.”
“Vin taught us the game and introduced us to its players. He narrated the improbable years, the impossible heroics, turned contests into conversations,” Obama said.
Scully is a Fordham Prep graduate who got his start in broadcasting by announcing football, basketball, and baseball games at WFUV, Fordham’s public radio station and media service, during his time at the University. He recently retired after 67 seasons as the voice of the L.A. Dodgers (originally the Brooklyn Dodgers). He was inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, and has received many other accolades including an honorary degree from Fordham.
The Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
President Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom on a total of 21 people including Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Bill and Melinda Gates, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NASA scientist Margaret H. Hamilton, and Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College and a prominent voice for greater access to higher education.
Obama said that Scully, upon learning he’d receive the medal, replied “‘Are you sure? I’m just an old baseball announcer.’ And we had to inform him that to Americans of all ages, you are [an]old friend.”