This week’s column highlight involves Vin Scully and legendary USC baseballl coach Rod Dedeaux.
- USC will practice today at 7 a.m. All practices will be closed to the public. College football is different than the NFL, which allows fans at training camp.
- Wide receiver Jordan Addison on asking Carson Palmer to wear No. 3.
“I don’t really want to get into too much detail with it but I’m just gonna make sure he knows he put the number on the right person,” Addision said.
I’m sure the details are not great. Palmer didn’t have much choice and it’s not a great look for a one-year player to get a Heisman winner’s number.
- Addison on his transfer saga that drew the ire of Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi.
“I got drug through the mud a little bit with the media,” he said. “But I like being an underdog and I’m always going to come out on top.”
- Wide receiver Mario Williams said he intends to play baseball next season at USC. We’ll see how Lincoln Riley deals with it, especially during spring practice.
- The Citadel in Commerce has a sand sculpture that celebrates the local sports teams. Here’s the USC portion.
And now for some history:
- After the Dodgers announced their move to Los Angeles, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley was in a quandary over who to hire as the play-by-play announcer.
There was a movement to hire a local big-name like Bob Kelley, who was the Rams announcer from 1937-65 and the Los Angeles Angels from 1948-57. He also had a nightly radio show (his son became a radio DJ known as Paraquat Kelley on KMET).
O’Malley invited USC baseball coach Rod Dedeaux to his office to listen to a tape he prepared of Vin Scully’s broadcast and wanted Dedeaux’s opinion.
After a few minutes, Dedeaux told O’Malley that Scully was the best announcer he ever heard and urged him to convince Scully to move west with the team to Los Angeles.
O’Malley probably had already made up his mind regarding Scully but sought Dedeaux’s opinion to validate his decision. It also led to a long friendship between Scully and Dedeaux.
- Scully attended Dedeaux’s 90th birthday celebration in 2004 at USC before a Trojans’ game (pictured below).
He also delivered the eulogy at Dedeaux’s funeral.
“As long as there is baseball and as long as there is USC,” Scully said, “Rod will live forever.”
- Here’s Scully at the Coliseum for the 2008 game between the Dodgers and Red Sox.
- Scully, broadcaster Red Barber and O’Malley at a St. Patrick’s Day party in 1952.
- Scully interviews pitcher Ron Perranoski after the Dodgers’ four-game sweep of the Yankees in the 1963 World Series. On the left is Dodgers executive Fresco Thompson.
- Look at the radio stations Scully was heard on in Los Angeles: KMPC, 1958; KFI, 1959-72; KABC, 1972-97; KXTA, 1997-2003; KFWB, 2003-07; KABC, 2007-11; KLAC, 2011-17.
- On April 18, 1958, the Dodgers rode in a motorcade parade down Broadway en route to their first game in Los Angeles, a 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants before 78,672 fans at the Coliseum.
A parade before the game. Amazing!
- Before it moves to the Big Ten, USC’s already played in Dyche Stadium (now called Ryan Field) at Northwestern. The Trojans went in 1968 and won 24-7. O.J. Simpson rushed for 189 yards and scored three TDs.
- USC’s homecoming was so big that in 1947, singer Jo Stafford performed her NBC radio show live from the Shrine Auditorium as part of the festivities. Prior to the show, Stafford was named top female artist played on juke boxes by the trade publication Coinbox. By 1953, she signed a four-year $1 million deal with CBS-TV and by 1954 became the second artist behind Bing Crosby to sell 25 million records.
- Maybe Stafford performed for USC because she spent part of her childhood growing up in Long Beach and attended Long Beach Poly High School. Her first radio appearance was on KHJ-AM at the age of 16.
- If these artists from the past don’t convince you how big USC homecoming was, let’s recall that in 1949 Kirk Douglas came to Bovard Auditorium to head the jury that selected Helen of Troy, the homecoming queen.
Comedian Bob Hope also showed up for the ceremony and then performed a show at Bovard on Friday night that featured singer/actress Doris Day. A parade in downtown L.A. drew 65,000 and was televised locally.
- With USC moving to the Big Ten, I want to re-up this: The Trojans had pretty good hockey teams in the 1930’s with players from Canada, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The games were held at the Hollywood Polar Palace, which seated 3,500.
USC filled up the Polar Palace on March 24, 1938 when the Trojans hosted defending Big Ten champions, Minnesota.
USC took a 2-0 lead in the first period and defeated the Golden Gophers, 5-2, as Nat Harty scored two goals for the Trojans. Minnesota sophomore John Mariucci was held scoreless for the first time in his college career.
- The Hollywood Polar Palace on Melrose and Van Ness avenues, burned down in 1963.
- Let’s appreciate another icon who died this week: NBA legend Bill Russell.
Russell played at McClymonds High School in Oakland. Does that make him the best player from California?
- I wasn’t old enough to see Russell play live but I remember as a child being a fan of his sportstalk radio show on 790-AM.
- If you want confirmation of what a joke KABC, the USC flagship station, has become these days with almost no local programming, when Russell worked there the director of sports was Keith Jackson. Times have sure changed.
- When Russell coached the Seattle SuperSonics, he also had a column in the Seattle Times. This question and answer are well worth reading.