LOS ANGELES -- A letter from Vin Scully awaited fans at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, the first day of Vin Scully Weekend, as Los Angeles commenced three days of difficult goodbyes to a legendary broadcaster.
Looking back to the moment that made him a baseball fan -- a Giants fan, even -- and remembering the good times he has shared with fans, Scully thanked fans for the support, love, and passion that has uniformly greeted him and his family in his 67 years calling the team.
"The first paragraph already gives you goosebumps," Dodgers fan Spencer Bruno said. "You can't even describe it, what he's meant to this community over the last 50-plus years here in L.A. and I can't imagine what it was like in Brooklyn. It's unbelievable."
Every segment of Dodgers fandom was at Dodger Stadium celebrating Scully's career and lamenting his departure. Brooklyn and Los Angeles natives, young and old, those who grew up watching him and those who started listening to him when the Dodgers came to Los Angeles.
Both Larry Layton and Harvey Haberman were there when the Dodgers made the move across the country. Haberman started listening the second the team arrived when he was 20 years old and had no doubt in Scully as the greatest ever.
Layton would listen to Scully's voice as he rolled up newspapers for his paper route. He actually thought the broadcaster's name was Vince Cully for a while due to the ambiguity of radio.
Every Dodgers fan seems to have a story about the way Scully personally touched him or her.
"Eric Karros tells the story about he would get close to his dad by listening to Dodgers games with his dad. I did the same thing with my dad. That's how I bonded with my dad. And Vin," Leslie Angel said. "I just thought he would go on forever. I had hoped he would go on forever. It's never going to be the same without him."
Scully's irreplaceability was unanimous among fans.
"I grew up listening to him. It's the only thing I know," Bruno said. "He's not just the voice of the Dodgers, but the voice of baseball."
Many years ago, a little red-headed boy was walking home from school, passing a Chinese laundry and stopped to see the score of a World Series game posted in the window. The Yankees beat the Giants, 18-4, on October 2, 1936. The boy's reaction was pity for the Giants and he became a rabid Giants' fan from that day forward, until the joyous moment when he was hired to broadcast Brooklyn Dodgers games in 1950. Ironically, October 2, 2016 will mark my final broadcast of a Giants-Dodgers game. It will also be exactly 80 years to the day since that little boy fell in love with baseball.
God has been very generous to that little boy, allowing him to fulfill a dream of becoming a broadcaster and to live it for 67 years. Since 1958, you and I have grown up together through the good times and the bad. The transistor radio is what bound us together. Were you at the Coliseum when we sang "Happy Birthday" to an umpire? Were you among the crowd that groaned at one of my puns? Did you kindly laugh at one of my little jokes? Did I put you to sleep with the transistor radio tucked under your pillow?
You were simply always there for me. I have always felt that I needed you more than you needed me and that holds true to this very day. I have been privileged to share in your passion and love for this great game.
My family means everything to me and I will now be able to share life's experiences with them. My wife Sandi, our children, Kevin, Todd, Erin, Kelly, and Catherine, along with our entire family will join me in sharing God's blessings of that precious gift of time.
You folks have truly been "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this incredible journey of 67 years of broadcasting Dodger baseball.
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.