Dodgertown Memories

Jaime Jarrin

Hall of Fame Dodger Broadcaster

Dodger Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin (left) interviews coach Preston Gomez in the mid-1960s, while Jarrin’s on-air partner Jose Garcia shares a laugh.

How does a young man who leaves his home as a news reporter in Quito, Ecuador end up in the broadcasters’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Not without vast talent, dedication and hard work if you are Jaime Jarrin who did achieve that. Jarrin traveled to the United States from his native Ecuador in search of an opportunity to broadcast news. Little did he know when he arrived in Los Angeles in 1955 that he would become successful broadcasting baseball, a sport he really knew nothing about upon his arrival. But, after attending some Pacific Coast League games and then Dodger home games for one season in 1958, he had learned enough about the sport to join the Dodger broadcast team on KWKW Radio, along with Rene Cardenas and Miguel Alonzo, in 1959. Following his 2022 retirement, Jarrin had broadcast Dodger games continuously for 64 seasons and was the No. 1 announcer since 1973. He was known as the “Vin Scully” of the Spanish-language airwaves, a compliment that Jarrin never took lightly. For his first six seasons, when the Dodgers were on the road, Jarrin broadcast in a studio by listening to the English-language broadcasts and simultaneously translating the words into Spanish for the listening audience.  In time, Jarrin, with his silky smooth voice, developed his own objective storytelling style and has been admired by his listeners ever since. Perhaps, the most memorable time in his career to the mass market was during “Fernandomania,” as Jarrin served as Fernando Valenzuela’s personal interpreter during press conferences and for interviews. But, Jarrin is not in anyone else’s shadow, as he has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was the first Latin American to win the Golden Mike Award and is one of the most popular personalities amongst Latinos, as his broadcasts of the World Series, All-Star Games, Olympic Games and boxing matches have been heard in the U.S. and throughout Latin America. The street at Dodgertown right before reaching Holman Stadium is named “Avenida Jaime Jarrin” in his honor. In January 1992, he received La Gran Cruz al Merito en El Grado de Comendador (the highest medal awarded to non-military personnel) in Ecuador. His 1998 induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame is his lasting legacy to the indelible mark he has made on the country.

To me, Dodgertown is a very, very special place. I was fortunate to go there for the first time in 1960. Then, we didn’t go there for several years until we started going there almost every year. It’s a very unique place. I remember vividly on one occasion when (Dodger President) Peter (O’Malley) told me that he would like to walk with me and talk with me after the annual Memorial Mass that we had there. I was wondering what he wanted to talk to me about. As soon as the Mass was over and we started walking, that’s when he told me that he appreciated my work very much and he was going to give me a five-year contract. That was the first time that I got a five-year contract and he wanted to tell me that personally.

“You know, I have had the same room probably for 30-35 years. The first room in front of the Administration Building has always been my room there – problems with the hot water and the cold water there, but a very charming place. I’m going to miss it a lot, because we have been going there so often and for so many years. Also, I have seen the way that the city has grown. I remember years ago when there was only one good restaurant called “The Bucket,” now it’s the Ocean Grill. Then in the last few years, we have seen so many great restaurants in Vero Beach. Really, I have enjoyed very, very much. I’m going to miss Dodgertown a lot. I had my very bad car accident in Spring Training (1990) on U.S. 1 and had to stay there for four months in a hospital. My wife Blanca had to stay (at Dodgertown) after the team left for Los Angeles and she was the only one there for a couple of months. Then I went to Dodgertown and stayed there for a couple of more weeks recovering after my accident. So, Vero Beach has lots of memories for me. I used to go to the Indian River Hospital there to see all the nurses and doctors because they were so great to me. I would take some flowers or chocolates, or something like that. But, in the last few years, you know, they are not the same people. I don’t know anybody there. But, really that was part of my memories of Vero Beach and Dodgertown.”

Jaime Jarrin