Thursday, September 12, 2019

Is This the Holy Grail of Vin Scully Memorabilia? His First Employment Contract

I never, in my wildest dreams, ever thought something like this would end up at an auction. Heck, it's a travesty that it's even available for sale. This piece of history, no doubt an important relic of Dodgers history, needs to be in a museum. How it ever ended up in private hands, I can only speculate (I've heard rumors of various Dodger artifacts being pilfered several decades back).

Featured here, at SCP's current Summer Premier Auction, is the very first employment contract between Hall of Fame Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully and the Brooklyn Dodgers -- countersigned and initialed by the esteemed Branch Rickey. (Auction Link) Per the auction description:
How does one land his dream job? For starters, one must know how to ask. When an aspiring 22-year-old broadcaster named Vin Scully typed up this two-page letter to Brooklyn Dodgers President, Branch Rickey, in December 1949, he never imagined in his wildest dreams that he’d spend the next 67 years of his life with the same organization doing what he loves – what he was born to do. Of course, it wasn’t just the polite and humble manner in which Vin applied that impressed Rickey; the ambitious young man came with rave reviews from his mentor and current Dodger play-by-play man, Red Barber, who had recently recruited Scully to cover college football on CBS Radio. As fate would have it, Rickey signed the letter, which apparently turned into the official contract to hire Scully. And the rest, as they say, is history. Within just a few years on the job, Scully would take Barber’s spot in the Dodgers’ booth for good. Presented here is this very contract that started it all.
Do people get hired that way anymore?

Vin sent Rickey an application (that acted as a potential employment contract), and Branch signed it. Wow!

As you surely know, Vin Scully covered a college football game on the cold and freezing roof of Fenway Park as a sort-of tryout for legendary Dodger broadcaster Red Barber, and he passed with flying colors. Soon thereafter he was at Ebbets Field, and the document featured here is the initial agreement that cemented a relationship that would last over six decades.

It includes various salary details:

  • A $100.00 per week to be paid either weekly or in semi-monthly installments.
  • It's an at-will contract
  • There's an option for 1951 that establishes an annual salary of $6,000.00.
  • There's another option for 1952 set at an annual salary of $7,500.00.
  • Rickey may also transfer his services to other telecast stations or sponsors
  • Vin was even willing to do other jobs for the Dodgers during the off-season.

I find it amazing that he was negotiation his salary, including raises, a couple of years in advance.

At the time of this posting the bidding is already at $4,840. I suspect it'll sell for much more than that. Hopefully, it find itself in the hands of someone who'll make it available for Dodger fans to see -- maybe a permanent Dodger museum that the club has been suggesting is in the works at the stadium.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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