Bob Wolff, Sports Broadcaster for Nearly 80 Years, Dies at 96
Bob Wolff, who called Don Larsen’s perfect spot for the Yankees within the 1956 World Series, the Giants’ overtime loss within the epic 1958 National Football League championship sport and the Knicks’ two title runs in a report-setting eight a long time as a sports broadcaster, died on Saturday in South Nyack, N.Y. He became 96.
His demise turned into confirmed with the aid of his son Rick.
“If you introduced all the time up, I’ve spent approximately seven days of my life status for the countrywide anthem,” Mr. Wolff once said.
Mr. Wolff changed into in the back of the microphone from the radio age to the upward thrust of cable television. He turned into cited by way of Guinness World Records in 2012 as having the longest career of any sports broadcaster.
He began out in 1939 while a student and former baseball player at Duke University, broadcasting video games on a neighborhood CBS radio station. He became the first sportscaster for Washington’s WTTG-TV at the old DuMont network in 1946. A yr later, he started out doing television play-with the aid of-play for the frequently lowly Washington Senators when the maximum of the tiny black-and-white units was in taverns and inns.
More these days, Mr. Wolff turned into a sports commentator for the cable TV station News 12 Long Island, which he joined whilst it became based in 1986. He delivered his final essay in February.
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Mr. Wolff teamed with Joe Garagiola on NBC-TV’s baseball Game of the Week in the early Sixties. He was a broadcaster for Madison Square Garden for extra than 50 years on personnel and as a freelancer, calling Knicks and Rangers games, university basketball and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. On the radio, he referred to as the final 1/2 of Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the sudden-loss of life over time N.F.L. Championship game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts.
“The Colts are the world champions — Ameche scores!” Mr. Wolff said, his voice rising, as Colts fullback Alan Ameche gained the sport on a 1-backyard touchdown plunge.
In April 2013, Mr. Wolff donated a few 1, fell four hundred video and audio recordings, representing approximately 1,000 hours of his broadcast paintings, to the Library of Congress. They blanketed interviews with Jim Thorpe, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Joe Louis.
“He became an archivist at heart,” said Gene DeAnna, head of the recorded sound section of the Library of Congress. “He became systematic, organized and had feeling of the future and the experience of the importance of his legacy to preserve it and to take care of it, and we have been very thankful that he did.”
Mr. Wolff become inducted into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995. (At his induction ceremony, he played “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his ukulele.) He received the Curt Gowdy media award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Mr. Wolff prided himself on being a nicely-organized journalist.
“In the vintage, antique days it was the voice that mattered,” he informed The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2005. “But I felt the one aspect that gave me sturdiness become arising with angles, creative factors, story traces. I approached every recreation with the soul of a sportswriter.”
Curt Smith, a historian of baseball broadcasting, stated Mr. Wolff had a voice that become “erudite however no longer unapproachable.”
As Mr. Smith informed The Washington Post in 1995: “He has a sense of humor — with the vintage Senators he had to — and he become always sincere. There become no phony baloney with Bob Wolff.”
But Mr. Wolff did enjoy telling how he once broadcast a professional basketball recreation when he was no longer at the arena. It happened on March five, 1966, when awful weather prevented him from flying to Cincinnati for a Knicks-Royals recreation that turned into to be telecast again to New York on WOR-TV. Mr. Wolff broadcast the sport off a TV reveal while sitting inside the station’s studio on the 83rd ground of the Empire State Building.
Mr. Wolff calling a 1954 Washington Redskins game in a image he supplied. He broadcast video games on TV before proudly owning a hard and fast.
“I did no longer need to make a public confession that I become now not able to get to the sport,” Mr. Wolff wrote in The New York Times 14 years later. “Yet journalistic honesty forced me to make an acknowledgment that occasions have been distinctive.”
He told his target audience, “Tonight’s game is coming to you from Cincinnati with the audio being transmitted from the WOR-TV studios high up inside the Empire State Building.”
The broadcast went easily, but Mr. Wolff did now not relate info of his adventure until December 1980, shortly before NBC’s test in telecasting a expert football game without an announcer, the usage of Bryant Gumbel for studio remarks and updates.
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As Mr. Wolff placed it then, “I can no longer be accused of being the trendsetter.”
Robert Alfred Wolff become born in New York City on Nov. 29, 1920. His father, Richard, turned into a mechanical engineer. His mother, the previous Estelle Cohn, was a homemaker.
He become an outfielder at Duke, but after breaking his ankle in a slide as a sophomore, he started out broadcasting the baseball team’s video games for the CBS radio station WDNC in Durham, N.C.
Mr. Wolff served within the Navy as a supply officer within the Pacific throughout World War II, finishing his service as a lieutenant. He then became the sports activities director for WINX radio in Washington in 1946. A yr later, whilst he changed into employed because the Senators’ first TV broadcaster, there were only a few hundred units in Washington. He and his spouse, Jane, did now not own one, so she went to an appliance save to look at the games.