As we reach the waning moments of Vin Scully’s 67 seasons with the Dodgers, let’s pause for a moment to remember his broadcast partner for nearly half of those years, Jerry Doggett, born 100 years ago today on September 14, 1916.
Like Scully, Doggett wanted from childhood to be a broadcaster, as Larry Stewart wrote in this obituary for the Times, after the 80-year-old Doggett passed away in July 1997.
Doggett, born in Moberly, Mo., grew up in Keokuk, Iowa, listening to St. Louis Cardinal and Chicago Cub broadcasts and dreaming of being a baseball announcer.
After graduating from Northwestern and spending three years in the Navy, Doggett got a job doing odds and ends at a Chicago radio station. He got his first full-time announcing job in 1938 at radio station KFRO in Longview, Texas.
After working in Longview for three years, Doggett went to WRR in Dallas, where he spent the next 15 years announcing Texas League games and calling the Game of the Week for the old Liberty Broadcasting System.
Doggett joined the Dodgers in 1956 — 60 years ago this September, as team historian Mark Langill pointed out to me, adding that Scully handed over the ninth inning of Sal Maglie’s September 25 no-hitter to the 40-year-old rookie as a kind of christening.
You can also hear Doggett here from April 16, 1957, on his first Opening Day with the Dodgers — and last in Brooklyn.
For the Dodgers’ first 19 seasons in Los Angeles, Scully and Doggett were the only radio voices fans knew, each calling the game separately, each working with folksy, knowledgeable styles at once distinct and complementary.
In 1977, Ross Porter became a third individual voice, with the Dodgers continuing the solo booth past 1987, when Don Drysdale succeeded Doggett.
For a kid like me raised in that era, Doggett was very nearly as integral to the Dodger experience as anyone.
“Jerry deserves every nice thing that can be said about him,” Scully told Stewart. “He was one of my closest friends and the best partner anyone could ever have.
“He never complained about not getting more of the limelight, he never showed any ego or any of that baloney. Jerry Doggett was just a terrific guy, and I will miss him forever.”