SBD/July 17, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Legendary Sportscaster, Baseball HOFer Bob Wolff Passes Away At The Age Of 96

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Legendary sportscaster BOB WOLFF, who worked for a "record-setting eight decades as a sports broadcaster," died on Saturday in South Nyack, N.Y., at the age of 96, according to Richard Goldstein of the N.Y. TIMES. Wolff called DON LARSEN's perfect game for the Yankees in the '56 World Series, the Giants’ overtime loss in the '58 NFL championship game and the Knicks’ two title runs. Wolff was cited by Guinness World Records in '12 as having the "longest career of any sports broadcaster." He started out in '39 while a student and former baseball player at Duke, "broadcasting games on a local CBS radio station." He "teamed with JOE GARAGIOLA" on NBC’s baseball Game of the Week in the early '60s. He was a broadcaster for MSG for "more than 50 years on staff and as a freelancer." Wolff was inducted into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball HOF in '95 (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17). In N.Y., John Healy notes Wolff was also "enshrined" in the National Sportscasters-Sportswriters HOF and the MSG Walk of Fame. He was the recipient of the CURT GOWDY media award from the Pro Basketball HOF in '08, joining Gowdy as the "only two sportscasters to be in both the basketball and the baseball halls." Wolff "served in the Navy as a supply officer in the Pacific during World War II" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/17). Also in N.Y., Don Burke notes Wolff has won two Emmys and has also "held the distinction of being the first broadcaster to handle play-by-play for championships in all four major professional sports" (N.Y. POST, 7/17).

ONE OF A KIND: In DC, Bob Levey notes Wolff "wrote three books, appeared as a local radio and TV sportscaster in Washington and New York, and found time to be the announcer for the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show" for more than 30 years. He once "estimated that he had covered more than 11,000 sporting events and that he had spent more than eight days of his life standing for the playing of the national anthem." Wolff’s broadcasting style was "unadorned and uninflected, and he often said he belonged to the less-is-more school." Unlike many younger sportscasters, he "never developed a signature call or a series of Wolff-isms" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/17). On Long Island, Neil Best writes Wolff "seemed to have a great deal of fun doing it, approaching a dream job as if it all were a happy dream, making friends across several generations of athletes, coaches, executives, fans and colleagues" (NEWSDAY, 7/17). Former Mets beat writer KEVIN CZERWINSKI said, "Bob was one of the nicest, classiest guys I had the privilege of knowing. I've always likened him to an East Coast version of VIN SCULLY" (Westchester JOURNAL NEWS, 7/17).

TWITTER REAXNewsday's Best tweeted, "Heck of a run. ... one of nicest guys in sports media." GQ's Keith Olbermann: "My privilege to have worked NYY Old Timers' Day with Bob for 10 years. No one was better prepared; no one was nicer." N.Y. Post's Mike Vaccaro: "Godspeed, Bob Wolff, who proved for 70 years it was possible to be a Hall of Fame gentlemen as well as a Hall of Fame broadcaster." News 12 Long Island's Kevin Maher: "There are not many men who can say they interviewed Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter, but Bob Wolff was one of them." N.Y.-based WNBC-TV's Bruce Beck: "At @MSGNetworks in 1982, Bob Wolff took me under his wing. He was a great mentor, a super broadcaster & a wonderful man. RIP Bob."
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