Jerry Doggone Doggett
As Vin Scully is about to sail into the sunset many are going to pay tribute to the man who has always been here since 1958, so I thought it would be a good time to remember the man he called his partner for 32 years, Jerry Doggett.
Jerry came with Vin to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, and so for many early LAD fans, it was his voice along with Vin’s that radiated from those transistor radio’s you are hearing so much about these days.
Jerry was as much a part of early LAD lore as Vin was, even if he wasn’t as celebrated.
Jerry was a workhorse who much like Vin, Chick, Bob Miller, and Ralph Lawler never missed work. In fact, until his last year with the team, he had missed only one game and that was for his daughter’s graduation.
His first Dodger game with partner Vin Scully was in September of 1956 at the Polo Grounds. Before this season, when he missed eight games because of a sore throat, Doggett had missed only 1 game in 31 seasons.
When Jerry retired this is what Vin had to say:
Said Scully of his association with Doggett: “When you work every day with the same guy, it’s a marriage. The booth is very, very small, and it can stay the way it is or it can become suffocating. I always thought of Jerry as a dear friend, not just a guy I announce with.”
I can still remember when Jerry passed away and Vin had to tell the Dodger audience. We felt sad that Jerry had passed on but we felt even sadder for Vin because you could tell he had loved his announcing partner.
“Jerry deserves every nice thing that can be said about him,” Scully said. “He was one of my closest friends and the best partner anyone could ever have.
“When we were on the road, we would spend all day and night together. We ate together, we played golf or walked around town together, we worked together and late at night we’d have a drink together. He was at peace with himself, and just being around him made me feel better.
“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.”
My memories of Jerry coincide with Vin. Many were enamored with Vin Scully but I was particularly fond of his partner. He wasn’t smooth, he was rough, he had an enthusiasm for the game much like Charley Steiner, but I don’t think he had as much trouble describing the play by play. I know many made fun of Jerry Doggett ( Larry Stewart ?) but I never thought it was fair, given how he was being compared to the best in the business. We all would suffer in comparison if we were compared to the best at what we do. I should remember that next time that Charley doesn’t quite meet my standards.
I think that Vin would call innings 1 – 3, and 7-9, with Jerry doing the middle work. Just like Vin, Jerry would call the game by himself. For those of us who grew up with a single play by play announcer handling the commercials, the color analysis, and everything else, these days of three person booths are usually two voices to many. If the right person is in the booth one voice is all you need, and for the Dodgers, it was always the right person in the booth whether it was Vin Scully or Jerry Doggett, or later Ross Porter and Don Drysdale.
I was just as happy when Jerry Doggett was calling the games as Vin. And to be honest it was nice to get a change up in styles during the game. Just as Don Drysdale and Ross Porter would add a different layer when they joined the broadcast team.
Time blurs everything, so I was surprised to find out when researching this story that Jerry retired in 1987. My mind thought it was in the late 70’s so I was pleased for whatever bizarre reason that he got to see the 1981 World Championship, and sad to see that he didn’t’ get to witness the 1988 World Championship.
When Jerry Doggett retired in 1987 and passed away in 1997 I didn’t have a way of saying thank you, so this was long overdue.
Thanks Jerry for being a good but not great announcer, for being Vin’s partner, and for being Vin’s friend.
I miss you, and man alive, I am sure going to miss your partner.
This one letter to the editor mirrors my thoughts:
“Shame on The Times for burying Jerry Doggett on Page 8 of the section. Speaking for thousands of L.A. baby boomers, from 1958 all through the ’60s and ’70s, no matter what else we were listening to, Jerry Doggett was never less than the second-best announcer in baseball. In those pre-media-glut days, we may not have often heard announcers from other cities, but when we did, we always thought, “Jeez, Doggett’s better than that guy. And he’s their lead announcer? Poor fill-in-a-city.” Jerry, as Bob Hope would say, thanks for the memories.”