DURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke baseball student-athlete and hall of fame sports broadcaster Bob Wolff passed away Saturday at the age of 96.
Wolff began his eight-decade broadcast career, which the Guinness World Records cited in 2012 as the longest of any sports broadcaster, in 1939 while still a student at Duke University, broadcasting games on a local CBS radio station. He became the first sportscaster for Washington’s WTTG-TV on the DeMont network in 1946 and began doing television play-by-play for the Washington Senators a year later.
Wolff was a broadcaster for Madison Square Garden for over 50 years, calling Knicks and Rangers games, college basketball and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. On radio, the former Blue Devil called the second half of Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series as well as the sudden-death overtime 1958 NFL championship game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts.
In April 2013, Wolff donated approximately 1,400 video and audio recordings totaling close to 1,000 hours of his broadcasts to the Library of Congress, including interviews with Jim Thorpe, Babe Ruth, Tub Cobb and Joe Louis. He was inducted into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Curt Gowdy media award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
An outfielder at Duke under head coach Jack Coombs, Wolff began his broadcasting career after breaking his ankle in a slide. He broadcast the baseball team’s games for WDNC in Durham, N.C., and graduated in 1942 with a degree in English.
Wolff is survived by his wife Jane, sons Rick and Robert, daughter Margy, nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.