Wolff pictured c. 1941 at Duke University
|Born||Robert Alfred Wolff
(1920-11-29)November 29, 1920
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 15, 2017(2017-07-15) (aged 96)
South Nyack, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Duke University|
|Spouse(s)||Jane Louise Hoy (m. 1945)|
|Children||Three (including Rick Wolff)|
Robert Alfred Wolff (November 29, 1920 – July 15, 2017) was an American sportscaster. He was the radio and TV voice of the Washington Senators from 1947 to 1960, continuing with the team when they relocated and became the Minnesota Twins in 1961. In 1962, he joined NBC-TV.
Wolff was born in New York, the son of Estelle (Cohn), a homemaker, and Richard Wolff, a professional engineer. He began his professional career in 1939 on CBS in Durham, North Carolina while attending Duke University. He was a graduate of Duke University with Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honors.
In his later years, Wolff was seen and heard on News 12 Long Island, on MSG Network programming and doing sports interviews on the Steiner Sports’ Memories of the Game show on the YES Network. He was a longtime resident of South Nyack, New York. His son Rick Wolff is an author, radio host for WFAN and former baseball player and coach.
National broadcasting work
Bob Wolff is the longest running broadcaster in television and radio history. He and Curt Gowdy are the only two broadcasters to be honored by both the Baseball and Basketball Halls of Fame. Wolff has also been honored with induction into Madison Square Garden’s Walk of Fame, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, Sigma Nu Fraternity Hall of Fame and many others.
Wolff has been a professional broadcaster in nine decades and is still going strong. Seen and heard on two ESPN TV specials in 2008, he’s been on the Madison Square Garden Network since 1954 and on Cablevision’s News 12 Long Island since 1986.
Wolff became the pioneer TV voice of the Washington Senators Baseball Club in 1947, moved with the team to Minnesota in 1961 and then joined NBC as the play-by-play man on the TV Baseball Game-of-the-Week in 1962.
Also heard on Mutual‘s Game-of-the-Day, Wolff was selected to be a World Series broadcaster in 1956 and that year called Don Larsen’s perfect game across the country on the Mutual Broadcast System and around the world on the Armed Forces radio. He also was on NBC Radio for the World Series in 1958 and 1961.
Wolff has been seen and heard doing play-by-play on all the major TV networks. Another of his classic broadcasts was the NY Giants / Baltimore Colts 1958 NFL Championship Game called, “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. On the collegiate scene, he’s broadcast the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Gator Bowl and many others. Wolff was television play-by-play voice of the Detroit Pistons for multiple seasons.
Wolff was also the 33-year play-by-play announcer of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and the National Horse Show, the Garden’s college and pro basketball and hockey games, men and women’s tennis, track and boxing events as well as gymnastics and bowling. He did soccer games for the old Tampa Bay Rowdies.
New York Knicks and New York Rangers
Wolff became known regionally as television’s play-by-play voice for eight teams in five different sports – the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons of the NBA as well as the New York Rangers of the NHL, the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins of MLB, the Baltimore Colts, Washington Redskins, and Cleveland Browns of the NFL, and soccer’s Tampa Bay Rowdies of the initial North American Soccer League, thus being one of very few American play-by-play announcers to have covered each of the four major team sports leagues as well as soccer with Dale Arnold being the other, calling Boston Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, and Revolution. For many years Wolff was the play-by-play telecaster for all events originating from Madison Square Garden.
His broadcast partner with the Knicks for many years was Cal Ramsey.
In addition to the Don Larsen perfect World Series call, and the Colts first overtime championship title win over the New York Giants, Wolff called Jackie Robinson‘s last major league hit which won Game 6 of the World Series in 1956. He was also the TV voice of the New York Knicks’ only two championships, in 1970 and 1973.