“I’m not only getting this job to do a sport that I love, but then God’s charity allowing me to do it for 67 years…It’s overwhelming, I mean, I have a big debt to pay in heaven – I hope when I get there – because the Lord has been so gracious to me all my life.” – Vin Scully
Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully was born November 29, 1927. For the last 67 years, he has been the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The man affectionately known as “The Voice of Baseball” is not so much a baseball announcer, but rather a poet who just happens to announce baseball games. Scully is an apex leader, The GOAT (greatest of all-time), a cultural icon, and he is deeply beloved by the sporting community and all who know him.
Heading towards retirement at season’s end, Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci profiled the Dodger legend in this masterpiece article. As I read Verducci’s thoughts, I gleaned the following 22 Practices Of Leaders Who Are Deeply Loved By Others:
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Humble Leaders – Scully, in his commencement address to Fordham University’s class of 2000, said, “I’m not a military general, a business guru, not a philosopher or author. It’s only me.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Recognized For Their Brilliance – At the same Fordham address, Michael T. Gillan, the dean of the school’s College of Liberal Studies, awarded Scully an honorary doctorate. Two Latin words were used to describe the Dodger announcer – “Eloquentia Perfecta“. These words translate into “perfect speech.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Build Lasting Relationships – Scully has been the voice of the Dodgers for 67 years.
- Deeply Loved Leaders Become Inconic Leaders – Fellow broadcaster Charley Steiner said, “Vin is the biggest star of them all (in the city of Los Angeles). I don’t care who it is – Arnold, Leo, Spielberg, Kobe, Magic – nobody is bigger than Vin, and I’ll tell you why: With everybody else you can find some subset of people who don’t like them. Nobody doesn’t like Vin Scully. Vin is our Babe Ruth.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Put Others Ahead Of Themselves – Scully said, “My biggest fear ever since I started, besides the fear of making some big mistake, is I never wanted to get out ahead of the game. I always wanted to make sure I could push the game and the players rather than me.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Inclusive And Always Looking For Even More Friends – They make you feel like you are their best friend. Scully starts every broadcast with the phrase, “Pull up a chair…” He adds, “That’s part of what I’m trying to do – as if I’m talking to a friend.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Consistent – They can be counted on. There is no drama. Scully is always wonderful dressed – coat, tie, sash, everything properly pressed. But he also has a very rudimentary routine which also attributes to his success. After every third out, Scully sucks on a Jolly Rancher “just to keep the pipes a little fluid.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Peaceful Leaders – Peaceful leaders are always calm and bring a sense of calm. They never seemed rushed or panic. Everyone around them has a sense of security. Deeply loved leaders communicate everything is going to be fine. Fellow announcer Rick Monday says, “His timing is impeccable. He’s never in a rush. It’s like the game waits for him.” Bob Costas adds, “He never shouts, but he has a way within a range that he can capture the excitement.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Sometimes Taken For Granted – When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in 1958, radio station KMPC wanted its own announcers rather inheriting Scully. Fortunately, team owner Walter O’Malley intervened.
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Afforded Great Opportunities And Experiences – Scully’s resume is without equal in the world of sports broadcasting. Just a few of his accomplishments are being the youngest person to ever call a World Series (age 25), calling the first World Series game in color (1955), and calling the highest rated World Series game in history (Game 7 of the 1986 World Series between the Mets and Red Sox). To see and hear Scully call even more historic moments, see the video above.
- Deeply Loved Leaders Have Accomplished Much – If you are not accomplishing something, why would someone follow you? You must be a leader worth following first. Scully has called approximately 9,000 games. In addition, he has called 20 no-hitters, 3 perfect games, and 12 All-Star games.
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Hard To Find – Costas says, “Many of the best announcers have some of the best qualities Vin may have. The command of the English language, the terrific sense of drama, the ability to tell a story.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Connect With Everyone – While Scully is the world’s most accomplished baseball announcer, he is also an avid reader, enjoys Broadway musicals and is very cultured. Interestingly, he never watches baseball unless he is announcing it. This allows him the ability to connect with as many people as possible.
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Well-Prepared Leaders – They care about those they lead enough to value their time and prepare in advance. Scully sees this as “the challenge (is) to be prepared, number one.” He goes on, “I really like to do the research…I’ve always been – even in grammar school – always afraid to fail. So I always studied.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Confident Leaders – Sir Laurence Olivier was once asked what made him such a great actor. He said, “The humility to prepare and the confidence to pull it off.” This also applies to Scully.
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Polite Leaders – Deeply loved leaders are invited into conversations. They are not pushy. Scully politely engages the audiences with phrases, “For those of you who care” and “In case you were wondering.” Scully would never say, “Let me tell you what I think.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Want To Be Loved As Well – Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. Scully admits, “There’s that one thing that to me is the most important, and that’s the crowd…’What would you miss the most when you retire?’ I said, ‘The crowd. The roar of the crowd.'”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Remove Clutter From Their Lives – Clutter removes the margin needed to love others and be loved. Going back to the Fordham commencement address, he said, “(The world) will try very hard to clutter your lives and minds. Leave some pauses and some gaps so that you can do something spontaneously rather than just being led by the arm.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Eternally Optimistic – Scully continued to the Fordham audience, “Don’t let the winds blow your dreams away…or steal your faith in God…Be a bobbed cork: When you are pushed down, bob up.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Visionaries – Concluding the Fordham address, Scully said, “It is written that somewhere in every childhood a door will open, and there is a quick glimpse of the future. When my door opened, I saw a large radio on four legs in the living room of my parents’ home. Above all, don’t ever stop dreaming. Sometimes even your wildest dreams can come true.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Are Grateful Leaders – Verducci concluded his incredible article with the following quote from Scully, “I’m not only getting this job to do a sport that I love, but then God’s charity allowing me to do it for 67 years…It’s overwhelming, I mean, I have a big debt to pay in heaven – I hope when I get there – because the Lord has been so gracious to me all my life.”
- Deeply Loved Leaders Love Jesus Christ – While not specifically addressed in the article, there are enough references to Scully’s faith to know he has a personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the source of true love. You cannot truly love others or be loved apart from a relationship with Jesus. Every other form of love is simply a counterfeit.
What is one thing you learned from this article which will make you a better leader?
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