Suzyn Waldman

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Suzyn Waldman
SuzynWaldman.jpg
Waldman in 2011
Born
Suzyn Waldman

(1946-09-07) September 7, 1946 (age 75)
Career
ShowNew York Yankees baseball
Station(s)WFAN
Previous show(s)YES Network
WCBS (FM)

Suzyn Waldman (born September 7, 1946) is an American sportscaster and former musical theater actress.[1] Since the 2005 season, she has been the color commentator for New York Yankees baseball, working with John Sterling on radio broadcasts, first for WCBS-AM and currently for WFAN in New York City.

Early life and career[edit]

Waldman was born in Newton, Massachusetts, and she graduated from Simmons College with a degree in Economics. Prior to her broadcasting career, Waldman worked for many years as an actress and singer in musical theatre. Her most notable role was as Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha.[2] Her rendition of "There Used To Be a Ballpark" appeared on historian David Pietrusza's 1995 WMHT-TV documentary Local Heroes: Baseball on Capital Region Diamonds.[3] Also, she has performed the National Anthem at many Yankee home games (most recently before a 2020 Yankees home game on July 31) as well as the 1986 ALCS Championship game 7 at Fenway Park.

Broadcasting career[edit]

Waldman is considered a pioneer in the male-dominated field of sports broadcasting.[4][5] She is the first woman in Major League Baseball history to serve as a full-time color commentator on a regular basis. In the mid-1990s, she was a play-by-play announcer for the Yankees' local TV broadcasts on WPIX, which made her the second woman to serve in that capacity on TV for a major league team, after Gayle Gardner in 1993.

She has worked in sports reporting for more than 30 years, as a former broadcaster for the YES Network as the reporter on the New York Yankees Pre-Game Show and the New York Yankees Post-Game Show and New York sports radio station WFAN. Her voice—on a live sports update—was the first heard on WFAN when it premiered on 1050 AM at 3:00 PM on July 1, 1987 (it moved to 660 AM a year later). At WFAN, she covered both the Yankees and the New York Knicks basketball teams and co-hosted the daily mid-day sports talk show.[6]

Waldman in 2014

Following the 2013 season, the Yankees moved their radio rights to WFAN, and announced that Waldman and John Sterling would return for their tenth year together in the booth.[7] She signed a two-year contract extension in February 2016 that ran through the 2017 season.

On December 16, 2017, Waldman signed a contract through the 2018 season.[8] She is currently under contract through the 2022 season.[9]

From June 29–30, 2019, Waldman called the first MLB games played in Europe.[10]

Her long association with the Yankees has earned her the nickname "Ma Pinstripe" from New York Daily News writer Bob Raissman.[11]

George Bell incident[edit]

At the start of the 1987 Major League Baseball season, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Bell was not talking to the New York media, thinking they had cost him the Most Valuable Player award the year earlier. He broke his silence after a win at Yankee Stadium, and the regular beat writers hurriedly gathered around his locker. New on the beat (women had just recently been allowed access to the locker room), Waldman joined the group; Bell immediately started screaming at her in Spanish and English.

"There was a deathly silence. I think the other writers were shocked, but I also think they still resented me more than a bit, and they certainly didn't want to lose this interview," she recalled on a radio show. "At the time I was a little less tough than I am now. Tears welled up in my eyes and I said I better get out of there."

As she rushed to leave, Bell's teammate Jesse Barfield called out to her: "Suzyn, I went three for four today. Don’t you want to ask me any questions?"[12] Waldman and Barfield, now a baseball announcer himself, became friends and have remained close since then.[13]

Yogi Berra–George Steinbrenner feud[edit]

In 1985, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner sent his general manager, Clyde King, to fire manager Yogi Berra. This greatly angered Berra because in his previous firings, the team owner had personally delivered the news. Yogi vowed not to visit Yankee Stadium and not to participate in any Yankee function as long as George Steinbrenner was the owner of the Yankees. In 1999, Suzyn Waldman helped arrange a meeting between the two men that brought an end to the 14-year feud. Yogi returned on Opening Day of the 1999 season, a day also designated as "Joe DiMaggio Day."[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

In 1996, Waldman was diagnosed with breast cancer.[16] She sued Mount Sinai Hospital and two of its pathologists for misdiagnosing her as cancer-free, eventually winning over $2 million in damages from the case.[17] While her chemotherapy regimen limited (and eventually ended) her day-to-day role of broadcasting Yankees games on TV, she continued in her role at WFAN throughout her illness.[18] Her cancer has been in remission for several years.[19]

Waldman is currently a resident of Croton-on-Hudson in Westchester County, New York.[20][21]

Waldman received an honorary Doctor of Journalism from Simmons University in May 2021.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Curt Schleier (April 1, 2005). "A Voice For The Ages". The Jewish Week. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2007.
  2. ^ Joanne Korth (April 17, 2005). "Broadcaster in a league of her own in Yankees radio booth". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved June 29, 2007.
  3. ^ Raymond J. Lamont (March 9, 1995). "Mining a rich vein of local lore". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "Waldman, sports radio pioneer, and Sterling, voice of the Yankees: Partners in the radio booth". WNYW Fox 5. October 2, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Best, Neil (February 24, 2014). "Suzyn Waldman returns to WFAN as Yankees broadcaster". Newsday. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  6. ^ McCarron, Anthony (August 10, 2014). "'94 The Season That Wasn't". New York Daily News. p. 71. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman to call Yankees games on WFAN". Newsday. February 14, 2014.
  8. ^ "John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman back on one-year deals for Yankees broadcasts". New York Daily News.
  9. ^ Rosenstein, Mike (January 2, 2020). "WFAN decides if John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman will call Yankees games in 2020". nj.com. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  10. ^ "Yankees, Red Sox play first-ever MLB game in Europe". dw.com. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  11. ^ Raisman, Bob. "Retirement talk off limits for Suzyn Waldman, John Sterling". nydailynews.com. The New York Daily News. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  12. ^ Curt Schleier, "A Voice for the Ages" Archived November 20, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, from Jewish Week, April 1, 2005
  13. ^ Suzyn Waldman, Reunion Weekend Archived July 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at WFAN.com, July 1, 2007
  14. ^ Harvey Araton (January 6, 1999). "Sports of The Times; Yogi and the Boss Complete Makeup Game". NY Times. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  15. ^ Chuck Slater (February 13, 2000). "Baseball Announcer Who Broke Barriers". NY Times. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  16. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: BASEBALL;Waldman Sues Hospital". New York Times. Associated Press. May 22, 1996. Retrieved June 29, 2007.
  17. ^ "Waldman Sues Hospital". New York Times. Associated Press. May 22, 1996.
  18. ^ Tarr, Peter (July 2000). "Never Give Up! The Courageous Story of Suzyn Waldman". InTouch. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  19. ^ "Suzyn Waldman Speaker & Booking Information". AthleteSpeakers.com. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  20. ^ "March FotoFiles - Westchester Magazine - March 2011 - Westchester, NY". www.westchestermagazine.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  21. ^ "Suzyn Waldman - $4,800 in Political Contributions for 2008".
  22. ^ "Simmons Names 2021 Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipients | Simmons University".

Further reading[edit]

Articles[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Jones, Charlie; Doren, Kim (2003). Heaven Can Wait: Surviving Cancer. Santa Anna, CA: Seven Locks Press. ISBN 1931643261. pp. 115, 116 and 117.
  • Grodin, Charles (2007). If I Only Knew Then: Learning From Our Mistakes. New York: Springboard Press. ISBN 9780446581158. pp. 36-37

External links[edit]