How Hank Aaron Cemented Vin Scully's Broadcasting Reputation

For decades, baseball has been not just about what happens on the field, but the sport has also been intensely dedicated to the men who have broadcasted the games into the homes of fans who weren't able to make it to the stadium that day, first on radio and later, on television. Men such as Harry Caray, Bob "Mr. Baseball" Eucker, and Jack Buck, among multiple others, formed part of the soundtrack to baseball in America. As the Baseball Hall of Fame notes on its website, the venerable institution even has a special award for broadcasters: the Ford C. Frick Award, named for the former broadcaster and MLB Commissioner who, according to the Hall of Fame website, "was a driving force behind the creation of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and he helped foster the relationship between radio and the game of baseball."

One of the biggest names in baseball broadcasting died in the summer of 2022: as ESPN reports, Vin Scully (pictured above), who was the voice of the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers for the better part of seven decades, died on August 2, 2022. The number of memorable moments to take place on the field when Scully was behind the mic are legion, but none is perhaps more memorable than his call of Hank Aaron's 715th home run.

Setting The Scene

Perhaps no other sport has records that can be sliced as thinly as those in the game of baseball. It's entirely possible to suss out who has the record for most doubles hit against left-handed pitchers while playing against a National League team, on grass and at night. But really, baseball is about the big records, and on the night of April 8, 1974, one of the biggest records was about to be broken.

For decades, the career home run record had been held by Babe Ruth, arguably the greatest (if not the most romanticized) player to ever play the game. By the time "Hammerin' Hank" Aaron started closing in on Ruth's career homers record, quite a few things had changed in baseball since Ruth set the record four decades earlier. For one, the Dodgers had left New York for Los Angeles, taking Vin Scully with them. For another, baseball had expanded into the Deep South –- Atlanta specifically. And for a third, Black players had been participating in the sport for decades, although not always without racist scorn; Hank Aaron himself received a ton of it in his life, particularly as he was coming up on Ruth's record, according to People.

Vin Scully Calls Hank Aaron's 715th Home Run

On April 8, 1974, the Dodgers were in Atlanta to face the Braves. It would have been a little-noticed, early-season game had it not been for the fact that, as fans were going through the turnstiles, history was likely going to be made that night.

Of course, the big moment finally came, with Aaron knocking the ball towards left-center field. Scully, being the Dodgers' broadcaster, would have otherwise been disappointed if a player from an opposing team hit a homer against his. But as you can see and hear in this YouTube video, Scully was thrilled to have been a part of it. "It is gone!" he triumphantly shouted, as fireworks went off and the crowd roared.

The celebrations would go on for a while, and Scully used the moment to discuss the significance of the moment. "What a marvelous moment for the country and the world," he said. "A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South ..."

That was roughly 50 years ago. In 2007, Aaron's career home run record was broken and is currently held by another Black man: Barry Bonds who, according to Baseball Reference, retired with 762 career homers (Aaron would retire with 755).