Newsday went ahead and tallied it up. According to their math, John Sterling by last Friday had called 4,453 consecutive Yankees games on the radio – 4,286 regular-season contests and 167 post-season matches. Add this weekend’s series with the Angels and the total now stands at 4,456.
The streak started back in 1989, after Sterling came over from Turner, where he had been calling Altanta Hawks and Braves games. As he told reporter Jim Bambauch, he thought it might finally end earlier this year:
Sterling’s iron man run almost ended this season, he said recently, because he was prepared to take a personal day to attend his oldest daughter’s high school graduation in June.
But in a fortuitous scheduling twist, Sterling said the ceremony fell on a Yankees day off when the team was home, preserving one of the more impressive and perhaps lesser-known streaks in all of sports.
Vin Scully, who will retire at the end of the year, has of course been broadcasting for much longer, but without a consecutive element like this. The closest thing Newsday could find to the Sterling streak is Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek, who called 4,347 regular season and playoff games before missing one finally in 2004. (By our math, Sterling passed Cheek at the beginning of this regular season when he called an April 17 home game against the Mariners.)
Sterling’s co-host since 2005 has been Suzyn Waldman. The pair, who have their detractors, signed new multi-year deals with WFAN at the beginning of this season. The 78-year-old play-by-play man told Newsday he hopes to continue calling Yankees games for many years to come.
Photo of Sterling with former Knicks, Rangers broadcaster Bob Wolff courtesy: WFAN