United States President Barack Obama held the final Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony of his administration on Tuesday. He honored 21 recipients, ranging from actors to singers and professional athletes.
The group of honorees included retired Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. He was surprised to learn of the news last week, and appeared emotional during Tuesday’s ceremony inside the East Room at The White House.
Obama began by reviewing each recipient’s accomplishments, while including an occasional light-hearted jab, particularly for famed Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan.
No words can truly describe how much Scully accomplished and his importance to the Dodgers organization and baseball as a whole. Though, Obama certainly did his best to honor Scully.
“The game of baseball has a handful of signature sounds. You hear the crack of the bat, you’ve got the crowd singing the seventh-inning stretch, And you’ve got the voice of Vin Scully,” Obama said.
“Most fans listen to a game’s broadcast when they can’t be at the ballpark. Generations of Dodger fans brought their radios into the stands, because you didn’t want to miss one of Vin’s stories. Most play-by-play announcers partner with an analyst in the booth to chat about the action. Vin worked alone and talked just with us.
“Since Jackie Robinson started at second base, Vin taught us the game and introduced us to its players. He narrated the improbable years, the impossible heroics, turned contests into conversations.”
The President concluded his speech on Scully with some humor: “In fact, I thought about him doing all these citations, which would have been cool, but I thought we shouldn’t make him sing for his supper like that.”
Video of Scully receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom provided by ABC News:
Pres. Obama awards Vin Scully, the voice of Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 seasons, the Medal of Freedom. https://t.co/gICgC7svpD
— ABC News (@ABC) November 22, 2016
Scully received a lengthy round of applause, arguably the longest of any of the recipients, upon returning back to his seat.