Spring training is already underway for some of the Los Angeles Dodgers who reported to camp in Arizona last week. The team will be starting the baseball season sooner this year because of the plans to open the season in Sydney, Australia. With manager Don Mattingly at the helm, the Dodgers will play two games Down Under against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch the early opener on March 22.
Yes, the boys in blue are preparing for another season, but no player can brag about returning for more than five decades. For that distinction you have to go to the broadcast booth. This year Jaime Jarrín will be at the helm of the Dodgers’ Spanish-language broadcasts for an amazing 56th season. Only his friend and broadcasting colleague Vin Scully can top Jarrín, with Vin’s record 65 seasons as the Dodgers’ announcer.
Jarrín was recently honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, with Scully on hand to pay tribute to the man known as “The Spanish Voice of the Dodgers.” “The highlight of all of the games we covered on the road was having dinner with Jaime and exchanging stories about all the great players,” Scully told the PPB crowd at the Sportsmen’s Lodge last month. Then he did an impression of Jarrín calling a home run. “Se Va, Se Va, Se Va. It is a beautiful poetic sound that he does the best,” Scully praised.
Before Jarrín was presented the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award from PPB’s president “Commander” Chuck Street, entertainment chair Jeanne DeVivier Brown read a letter sent by the Dodger’s former owner Peter O’Malley sending his congratulations. On the dais telling stories and paying tribute to Jarrín were talk show host Larry King, UCLA’s Michael Young, Fox TV news anchor Laura Diaz, and Jaime’s son “Captain” Jorge Jarrín, who was the LA traffic reporter for KABC. Everyone noted how humble Jarrín is, and Jorge explained his father “doesn’t think of himself as a pioneer, but he is.”
One of the most recognizable voices in Hispanic broadcasting, Jarrín was born in Cayambe, Ecuador, and began work as a broadcaster in his home country when he was just 16 years old. He went on to become the announcer for the National Congress of Ecuador. He came to the U.S. in 1955. “At the time, I had never seen a baseball game,” Jaime told the PPB crowd.
Jaime was the news and sports director of KWKW in LA when the Dodgers moved here in 1958. That station acquired the broadcast rights to Dodger games and Jarrín started calling them for the Spanish speaking audience. From 1962 to 1984, Jarrín never missed a game, calling close to 4,000 games over 22 seasons. The streak was broken only when he took charge of all the Spanish-language radio coverage and production for L.A.’s 1984 Olympic Games.
The Dodgers are the only team with two announcers inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Scully and Jarrín. Also on hand was the great Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela who nowadays does the Spanish broadcasts with Jaime. Fernando noted their friendship formed his rookie year when Jaime acted as his interpreter and guided him through all the Fernando-mania that the Dodgers experienced. Jarrín gave credit to his wife Blanca his family and said he is looking forward to enjoying a new golden era with Dodger baseball.