Hal Scott, a legendary WCCO TV sports newscaster in the 1960s and '70s, died of stroke complications Tuesday in his Edina home. He was 87.
Scott did some play-by-play announcing for the Minnesota Twins and covered them, the Vikings and other sports teams for about 18 years. His career ended suddenly in 1980 when he fell on the stairs at WCCO and injured his vocal cords.
"He asked hard questions; [he was] a guy who dug into issues and didn't accept answers that didn't address the issues," said Clark Griffith, the Twins' executive vice president in the 1970s. "He was a very good reporter."
Scott earned two Bronze Stars for his service as a military policeman during World War II. Afterward, he returned to his hometown of Connellsville, Pa., and worked in railroad yards and as a train fireman. In 1962, he followed his brother, noted sports announcer and CBS broadcaster Ray Scott, to WCCO. He worked alongside WCCO stalwarts Dave Moore, Bud Kraeling and Skip Loescher, and became a mentor to WCCO sportscaster Mark Rosen.
"He was my boss and confidant. He had my back all the time," Rosen said Thursday. "He was very kind, but tough as nails. ... He was the best storyteller I ever heard ... about sports people and his Pennsylvania background. He knew a lot of characters, and he was one. He was one of a kind, a very strong, principled man. He served as a lesson to me to understand the importance of mentoring people. He taught me everything. I know I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today without Hal."
Scott reported some of the biggest sports stories of his day on WCCO's "The Scene Tonight." He broke the story about Coach Vince Lombardi resigning from the Green Bay Packers in 1967.
"He was not afraid to rock the establishment or go after injustices as he saw them," Rosen said. "He went after Calvin Griffith after he fired [1970s Twins manager] Billy Martin." He said Scott worked at WCCO seven days a week.
Sunday afternoon dinner between sportscasts, with sports on the home television, "was our time with our dad," recalled his daughter, Kim Hollingsworth. "He'd tell stories about what was going on with the Twins and Vikings."
When not at WCCO, Scott was busy speaking to groups or helping with charity fundraisers, she said.
But he made up for his absence in retirement when he helped his son deal with diabetes issues. He also was a surrogate father to Hollingsworth's three sons after her husband, a Robbinsdale firefighter, died after saving two others in a fire in 1984. Her father "took over and helped me get through a very difficult time in my life," she said. He also cared for his wife, Patricia, who had Alzheimer's and other health issues in her final years.
In addition to his daughter, Scott is survived by his son, Brad (Kim's twin), of Granite Falls, Minn., three grandsons and a great-granddaughter. Service (preceded by a half-hour visitation) will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Cremation Society of Minnesota, 7110 France Av. S., Edina.