Jaime Jarrín has seen every big Dodgers moment in L.A.: Here are his fondest memories
Jaime Jarrín, the longest-tenured broadcaster in Major League Baseball, has witnessed more games at Dodger Stadium than anyone else since it opened in 1962. Sixty years later, the ballpark will fittingly host its second All-Star Game in Jarrín’s 64th and final season as one of the club’s Spanish-language radio voices. That’s six-plus decades of Dodgers moments in Los Angeles. Here are the 86-year-old Hall of Famer’s favorites. (The interview, conducted in Spanish, was edited for brevity and clarity.)
1. Dodgers’ first game in Los Angeles
(April 18, 1958, at the Coliseum)
It was awesome, for me, to be in the Coliseum as a spectator. I wasn’t working. I was preparing myself for the next year. But it was an awesome sight, seeing a place so big like the Coliseum and see almost 80,000 people there. I said, “Wow! How is it possible for one place to have so many people for a sporting event.”
2. Sandy Koufax’s perfect game
(Sept. 9, 1965, vs. Cubs at Dodger Stadium)
I’ve seen three perfect games. The first was Sandy Koufax’s. The second was Cincinnati’s Tom Browning against the Dodgers in Cincinnati. And the third one was Dennis Martinez’s against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Koufax is here because it was the first and you don’t see a perfect game every day. And after the game, Sandy was very friendly. He took a photo with me, with the balls, the four balls [representing his four no-hitters]. And it was awesome for me because perfect games are special.
3. Fernando Valenzuela’s feat in Game 3 of World Series
(Oct. 23, 1981, at Dodger Stadium)
Fernando showed a bravery, courage, strength. He was in trouble throughout the game, but he knew how to get himself out and complete the game. The manager went to the mound a few times, but it was a game of strength. For me, it was the most important game Fernando pitched in his career. That third game of the 1981 World Series. [Valenzuela threw 149 pitches in the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory that cut the Yankees’ lead in the series to 2-1. The Dodgers won the next three games to capture the championship.]
4. Dodgers’ four-plus-one game
(Sept. 18, 2006, at Dodger Stadium)
That, for me, was one of the most exciting nights of my career. [Trailing the Padres 9-5 in the ninth inning, the Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs to tie the score. After the Dodgers fell behind by a run in the 10th, Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-run home run to win the game 11-10.]
Steve Stone and J.R. Richard were the starting pitchers in the 1980 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. By the end of the 1981 season, their careers were over.
5. Don Drysdale breaks consecutive scoreless innings streak
(June 8, 1968, at Dodger Stadium)
[Drysdale threw 582/3 scoreless innings, breaking the mark of 552/3 set by Walter Johnson in 1913.]
6. Sandy Koufax clinches the World Series
(Oct. 6, 1963, at Dodger Stadium)
That was an exciting game because there was a chance to sweep the series against a team so strong like the Yankees. And Koufax pitched on three days’ rest. An exciting day.
7. Dusty Baker’s 30th homer in final at-bat of regular season
(Oct. 2, 1977, at Dodger Stadium)
[The Dodgers became the first team in history to have four players hit 30 home runs in a season when Baker connected against the Astros’ J.R. Richard.]
8. Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter against the Rockies
(June 18, 2014, at Dodger Stadium)
No-hitters are special. You don’t see them frequently. It’s unique. A perfect game is perfect, but a no-hitter is so difficult to achieve.
9. Steve Finley’s walk-off grand slam to clinch the NL West
(Oct. 2, 2004, at Dodger Stadium)
[Trailing the Giants 3-0 in the ninth inning, Finley’s grand slam caps a seven-run rally.]
10. Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run in Game 1 of World Series
(Oct. 15, 1988, at Dodger Stadium)
For me, it was very exciting, but looking at the whole game, it was a matter of just 10 minutes and the home run was just a few seconds. It was a flash. But it was memorable, of course, for everyone at Dodger Stadium.
11. Roy Campanella Night
(May 7, 1959, at the Coliseum)
It was one of the most memorable nights of my life. More than 90,000 people showed up to honor Roy Campanella. Pee Wee Reese pushed Roy Campanella out in a wheelchair and, later, everyone lit a candle or held a light and it was awesome.
For decades, listening to Vin Scully on a transistor radio became part of the quintessential experience for any fan attending a game at Dodger Stadium.
12. Montreal Expos’ Dennis Martinez throws a perfect game
(July 28, 1991, at Dodger Stadium)
First off, it was a perfect game. Secondly, a Latino pitcher, Nicaraguan. It was so exciting for the public that in the sixth inning, when a perfect game seemed possible, we received two or three phone calls from Nicaraguan radio stations asking for permission to air our broadcast. We had to call Major League Baseball immediately to ask for permission so they could air our broadcast. They gave us the permission and they were able to listen in Nicaragua.
13. Vin Scully’s Dodger Stadium farewell
(Sept. 25, 2016)
Vin Scully has meant a lot to me. More than simply a friend. More than simply a colleague. He has been, for me, well, my guide, my teacher, my professor, my helper. He’s been everything. Thanks for him, possibly I’ve been able to achieve so many things because he helped me so much at the beginning of my career.
The MLB All-Star Game returned to Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980 on Tuesday. Here’s our coverage:
Jaime Jarrín’s all-time L.A. Dodgers team
First base: Steve Garvey and Wes Parker
Second base: Davey Lopes and Steve Sax
Shortstop: Maury Wills and Bill Russell
Third base: Adrián Beltré and Ron Cey
Outfield: Willie Davis, Dusty Baker, Shawn Green (next three: Kirk Gibson, Tommy Davis, Duke Snider)
Catcher: Mike Piazza and Mike Scioscia
Starters: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Clayton Kershaw (honorable mention: Don Sutton)
Relievers: Ron Perranoski, Kenley Jansen, Mike Marshall
Utility: Jim Gilliam and Chris Taylor
Pinch hitters: Manny Mota and Dave Hanson
Manager: Walter Alston
Jaime Jarrín’s all-time MLB team
First base: Gil Hodges and Stan Musial
Second base: Roberto Alomar and Joe Morgan
Third base: Mike Schmidt and Adrián Beltré
Shortstop: Alex Rodriguez and Ozzie Smith
Catchers: Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodríguez
Outfield: Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle
Starters: Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan
Relievers: Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman
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