NEW YORK — Bob Wolff, the only sportscaster to call play-by-play of championships in all four major North American professional team sports, has died. He was 96.
Son Rick Wolff said his father died peacefully Saturday night at his Nyack home.
Wolff broadcast the NFL’s championship game, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals. He interviewed Babe Ruth, was the voice of the Washington Senators, and for decades did play-by-play for the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.
“Bob Wolff’s iconic, Hall-of-Fame broadcasting career was matched by his class and character,” the New York Yankees said in a team statement. “Beyond his lifetime of professional accomplishments, he was a man of great grace and dignity, serving his country with honor, and proudly calling New York home. Bob was a dear friend of the Yankees organization and he will be deeply missed.”
Wolff was cited by the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest consecutive run as a broadcaster at 78 years, dating to 1939 on WDNC Radio when he was a student at Duke University. This year, he did sports commentary on News 12 Long Island and hosted the Con Edison Scholastic Sports Award program on WHUD Radio in Westchester.
Wolff called the only perfect game in World Series history when the Yankees’ Don Larsen accomplished the feat against Brooklyn in 1956, and was behind the microphone for the Baltimore Colts’ overtime victory over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL title game. He did television play-by-play for the New York Knicks’ two championships.
“Bob Wolff was not only one of the seminal figures in American sportscasting, but he was a part of the very fabric of Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers for more than six decades,” Madison Square Garden and MSG Networks said in a statement. “In addition to leaving behind an unmatched body of work, his spirit carries on in hundreds of broadcasters he mentored and the millions of fans he touched. His legacy will live forever.”
Wolff is enshrined in the broadcast wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Sportscasters-Sportswriters Hall of Fame, the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame, and in July 2008 was voted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Award, joining Gowdy as the only two sportscasters to be in both the basketball and the baseball halls.
Wolff served in the U.S. Navy as a supply officer in the Pacific during World War II.
He is survived by Jane Wolff, his wife of 72 years, sons Dr. Robert Wolff and Rick Wolff, daughter Margy Clark, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.