Nats dedicate broadcast booth to Wolff

Nats dedicate broadcast booth to Wolff

WASHINGTON -- Before Saturday's game, the Nationals dedicated their home television broadcast booth to Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Wolff -- the nation's longest-running broadcaster and only one to do play-by-play for all four major professional sports' championship games.

"Being big on tradition and history, it's an honor to have you here," Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner told Wolff.

"It's a great thrill," Wolff said. "Washington to me is like my home base."

Wolff came to Washington during World War II after serving in the Solomon Islands as a Navy supply officer, where he met his wife of 64 years, Jane Louise Hoy, a Navy nurse.

Beginning in 1947, with the advent of a new technology, Wolff became the TV play-by-play voice of the Washington Senators.

Wolff drew national praise for his broadcasting of the 1956 MLB All-Star Game, which was held in Washington.

After impressing the right people, Wolff was assigned to the radio call of the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

As a result, he called Don Larsen's perfect game in Game 5 of the World Series.

"All I kept thinking to myself was, 'Don't get so gripped up in the emotion that I'm thinking about that more than the broadcast,'" Wolff said. "It came out pretty well."

When asked if he remembered his call from the game's finish, Wolff paused for 10 seconds and bellowed out his historic words ...

"Strike three! A no-hitter, a perfect game for Don Larsen! Yogi Berra runs out, he leaps on Larsen, he's swarmed by his teammates. And listen to this crowd roar!"

Wolff also called what is known as "the greatest football game ever played," when the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in overtime of the 1958 NFL championship game, also held at Yankee Stadium.

Wolff has seen just about everything since he began his career with CBS Radio in Durham while attending Duke University.

His unique view of sports has kept him engaged for seven decades.

"The artistry of the game is like going to a Broadway show," Wolff said.

He now works for Madison Square Garden and News 12 Long Island, doing editorials and talk shows instead of play-by-play, so he can travel less and spend more time with family.

Along with Curt Gowdy, Wolff is the only broadcaster to be inducted to both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

Though the Nationals are struggling this season, Wolff has high hopes for the city -- his home base -- once the team eventually turns things around.

"It's important that Washington has a ballclub and eventually gets to where they want to be, because once they do that, there will be no holding back this city," Wolff said. "They'll be so starved to get that big winner, that they'll just go crazy."

Mark Selig is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.