Jim Palmer choked up when talking about his autistic son. Fellow Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins paid tribute to the Philadelphia Phillies scout who signed him. Tom Lasorda showed he could still make a room full of people laugh.
But Vin Scully was the undisputed star on Saturday night at the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation’s annual fundraising dinner.
The 1,000-plus people who packed the banquet hall at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza stood and applauded when Bud Selig introduced Scully, who received a leadership award named after the baseball commissioner.
Scully tried to calm down the crowd.
“It’s only me,” he said.
The Hall of Fame broadcaster proceeded to tell a story about a Native American who wanted to test the manhood of his tribesmen by making them run up the side of the mountain. The room turned silent.
“Early on the appointed morning, four Braves left camp at sunrise,” Scully said. “Later that afternoon, one of the Braves came back with a twig of spruce. Later still, another came with a bough of pine. And it was late in the afternoon when a third Brave arrived with an alpine shrub. It wasn’t until late at night by a full moon that the fourth Brave arrived back in camp.
“ ‘How high did you climb? What did you bring?’ ” asked the chief.
“The Brave said, ‘Where I ran, there was no spruce, no pine, to shield me from the sun. There were no flowers to cheer my path. There were only sharp rocks and snow and barren land. My feet are torn, I come back late and I’m exhausted.’
“And then a wondrous look came in his eye and he said, ‘I saw the sea!’
“For 63 years, thanks to the sacrifices, my wife Sandy and my children, they gracefully allowed me to climb my mountain. And believe me when I tell you, receiving this award, in this particular dinner, I indeed have had a glimpse of the sea.