By Joe Rini
Being a columnist for the Rockland County Times since 2012 and covering the New York Mets by literally being on the field has been a privilege and a joy for me. Yet, my favorite moment as a columnist took place in a living room.
On the Sunday before Halloween last year and eight months before he passed away at the age of 96, I had the privilege of interviewing Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Wolff as part of the commemoration of his calling Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series 60 Octobers ago in 1956.
As a columnist covering the Mets, I’ve grown accustomed to approaching players during their pregame activities and trying to ask questions that’ll get them to open up about what it’s like to be a major league baseball player. I’m talking to people – the players – while they’re working and preparing for competition, so I’m mindful to be to the point and thorough when I ask for their time. Some interviews are better than others,
With Bob Wolff, I sat in his living room overlooking the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee Bridge (and its under construction replacement, the then not-yet-named Mario M. Cuomo Bridge) and we chatted for about three hours about his nearly 80 year career in broadcasting. He was very generous and gracious with his time and very grateful after the article appeared in print.
What struck me about Bob was how he was able to generate the same enthusiasm talking about the high school star of the week in 2016 that he did interviewing an all time great like Babe Ruth in 1947. As I write this now, I realize he accorded me the same enthusiasm as an interviewer that he would have accorded any of the big name people he knew (and in many cases, mentored).
Thank you, Bob Wolff. Rest in peace.