From One Dodgers Hall Of Fame Broadcaster To Another: Jaime Jarrín Reflects On His Long, Close Friendship With Vin Scully
Jaime Jarrín, the legendary Spanish-language broadcaster for the Dodgers, was close friends with Vin Scully throughout his 64-year tenure with the baseball team. Scully was there in the beginning of Jarrín’s career doling out advice, and he attended Jarrín’s own induction to the Hall of Fame decades later.
In conversation with host Nick Roman, Jarrín reflected back on his close bond with Scully as a friend and a mentee. The interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.
Roman: I noticed on Twitter you said that Vin Scully was the architect of your career. Tell me what he did for you in those early days.
Jarrín: When I started with the Dodgers, we didn’t travel with the team. He would tell me before the broadcast, giving me information about the weather, about the attendance, things like that, that will help my broadcast. Because we didn't see the game in those days. It was no TV, only one game a week on Saturdays. So everything was through the line. And he gave me some advice.
He was everything to me. He was very, very special. He was a very close friend. He was my mentor.
I understand that the advice was, “Prepare for every game as if it is your first and never get too close to the ballplayers.”
Exactly. That's what he said. That was the only advice he gave me. He hated giving advice, but he told me always, “Be ready, prepare yourself. Because it doesn't matter if you have done 1,000 games, you have to be prepared.” So I follow his instructions. I used to prepare the broadcast with three or four hours in advance.
Did your style develop from his style?
I think so. I tried to follow his school [of broadcasting]. Nobody can imitate exactly how Scully was, but he tried to be very impartial. And [he told me to] to see with my eyes, not with my heart. And he told me, keep your distance from your players, don't be intimate with them. Be nice with them. But because that could affect your broadcast.
I know that eventually you did travel with the team. When you were together with Vin Scully on long flights or on bus rides, what did you talk about?
Sometimes we talk about baseball. Sometimes we talk about the certain plays that we saw the night before, something like that. But usually, it was talking about family, about being in the United States, about how do I feel being an immigrant coming to this country without speaking the language. And in that regard, he helped me a lot. So it was unbelievable.
I will say that in the last 40 to 50 years, I was probably the closest friend that he had. Because when he lost his wife, he had a rough time. I had to stay with him at the Dodger Stadium in the press box until 1:30, 2:00 in the morning so he can go home. And sometimes I had to drive him to his house in Pacific Palisades. We became very, very close.
Then, you know, when my son passed away, he comforted me so much because he went through the same thing. He lost a son also. And later on when my wife passed away, oh, we became closer, really, because Blanca, my wife, and Vin, they were very special. They liked each other so much. They were very, very unique. [We had a] very, very special friendship among us families. And... I can never forget that.
Walking through tragedy seals friendships. It truly does.
Yes, it does very much. The funny thing is, you know, he used to console me. When his son died, I had a very tough time at the beginning, because my family would start calling me. I think some radio stations and TV stations [announced the news as] “Son of a Dodger Broadcaster Dies in a Helicopter Crash.”
My brothers immediately called me thinking that he was my son, Jorge. Because Jorge used to fly the helicopters five hours a day, six days a week for KABC. And right away, they thought, “He has crashed in the helicopter.” So I had to tell them, “No, no, it's not my son. It's Vin Scully’s son, Michael. So, it was tough. It was very difficult.”
How should Dodger fans and fans of you and fans of Vin Scully remember him?
We should remember him as what he was: he was really an icon in our industry. He was [a] very generous person. He was a gentleman to the fullest. He used to care for everybody inside that organization. That's why everybody loved him.
And to me, he was very, very special because he was very close. And through him, I met very important people. For instance, you know, I used to be in the booth, and he stopped by and said, “Jaime, come out, come out! I want you to meet some friends of mine.” And it was Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Desi Arnaz, Cary Grant.
And his closest friend was Danny Kaye. He used to go to Danny Kaye's house, at least twice a week, because Danny was a superb cook. I don't know if it was Chinese food or Japanese that he used to cook. And Vinny used to tell me, “That’s unbelievable, what he does.” So Danny Kaye was very close. And then Danny, through him, liked me a lot.
So many things for what I have to be thankful to Vin.