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Thom Loverro: Bob Wolff's donation of his recordings to Library of Congress is a gift to sports fans

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Sports,MLB,Thom Loverro

The best way to describe sportscaster Bob Wolff is a treasure. The 92-year-old former Senators broadcaster is still working, for News 12 Long Island, a 74-year career that is certified by Guinness World Records as the longest in sports broadcasting history.

The best way to describe Wolff's life is that it has been a treasured one -- he called Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series and the 1958 NFL Championship game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts.

So it is no surprise that Wolff has amassed a treasure chest of recorded interviews and historic play-by-play calls over his great career, and is donating those recordings -- more than 1,000 hours of great sports moments -- to the Library of Congress to be saved, digitalized and made available to the public.

We're talking about interviews with Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Vince Lombardi, Ted Williams and on and on.

A treasure chest of sports history, Wolff's gift to America.

"I've been very lucky," said Wolff, who was honored Friday in a ceremony by the Library of Congress and is scheduled to be inducted into the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame at Nationals Park on Sunday. "When I was doing these interviews at the time, very few people kept their recordings, but they were valuable to me -- like having a family photo for your own personal pleasure."

Wolff was one of the first to conduct pre- and post-game interviews and he kept the early ones on 16-inch discs. They took up a massive amount of room in his home.

"You can hardly get to my office," Wolff said.

So he thought it was time to have them stored properly and to share them with the public.

"I'm not going to be around forever, and I want people to be able to use them in the future," he said. "The Library will make them available to the public. What more can I ask?"

You'll be able to hear Wolff's interviews with Robinson, the first of which came in October following his 1947 historic debut season. He did two more with Robinson, in 1952 and 1956, Robinson's last season, and he called Robinson's last career hit in the 1956 World Series.

"Jackie was extremely level-headed," Wolff said. "When he was asked about race relations, he would tell the story of how he went to UCLA, and USC was their biggest rival. 'They would taunt me and yell at me,' Jackie said. 'But after we played for some time against each other and got to know each other, we went from bitter rivals to friends. The more we got to know each other, the more we found we had a lot in common.' It was a great way to build unity and harmony about people."

It will be a great way for people to hear from the legends of sports, thanks to the recordings of Bob Wolff.

Examiner

columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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