For the moments in the House that Ruth built — and was rebuilt — there's been one voice consistently bringing them to people on the radio: John Sterling.

“At 85, I’m still a child, and I get excited about things,” Sterling said in an interview with NY1.

What You Need To Know

  • John Sterling is entering his 36th season calling New York Yankees games on the radio

  • He said he was offered the job without needing to audition

  • He had a streak from 1989 to 2019 where he called more than 5,000 straight games

He said since he was 10 years old, he knew he wanted to be a broadcaster. As a Yankees fan growing up in Manhattan, though, he never thought he could be the one bringing the plays to life on the radio.

“I never even fantasized it because I didn’t think that was possible,” he said.

He recalled his journey to get here, with stops up and down the east coast. He hosted talk shows in upstate New York and Providence. He called games for the then-New York Nets, the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, even working with Walt Frazier, who, of course, now can be heard on New York Knicks games.

“Oh, we had a great time," he said. "He used to say, ‘We’re cooking! We’re cooking!’ It was great."

In a detail Sterling said he has never shared before, he had a feeling in his final season with the Hawks that something could change.

"On the way downtown to do this radio game, I told myself, 'you’re going to miss this,'" he said. "'Believe me. You’re really going to miss this!' I didn’t know I was going to get another job. But I figured someday something would happen."

And it was after the 1988 season that he got the call that changed his life, with a call from a producer with WABC, the radio station that broadcasted Yankees games.

"John, I have a question. Would you like to do the Yankees?" he recalled being asked.

And that was it. He said he didn't have to audition. They just wanted an answer.

“I remember... feeling on top of the world," he said, "that I got the Yankee job.”

In the 36 years since, he’s called two perfect games, a home run record and five World Series wins, among many other highlights.

He developed a close friendship with former Yankees manager Joe Torre, too.

"He managed the Yankees for 12 years. And he took me out for dinner on the road almost after every game. So, we got to be really good buddies," he said about their friendship. "Hey. Great guy. And what did it mean to me? I think the best thing that it meant to me, Joe told me anything. And he said to me, ‘You’re so secure that I’m not worried you’ll tell people to show that you know you’re a big guy.’ So he told me anything.”

As much as things changed with the Yankees, for a long time, he did not. From 1989 to 2019, he called more than 5,000 straight Yankees games.

"I never thought about it," he said, while acknowledging he knew about it. To put that in perspective, his streak covered five different U.S. presidents.

“I just went to go to work, like you’re supposed to do," he said. "That’s all.”

And what he may be most known for: his home run calls.

“Those are the kind of things that just come to me,” he said.

Some phrases are planned. He said he consulted with someone who speaks Italian for Giancarlo Stanton. But Austin Romine’s came to him during the catcher’s home run trot, when he said, "Romie, my homie!"

John Sterling does not have a smartphone or a computer, but his calls are plastered on social media.

Some people may not love his schtick, but what is undeniable: John Sterling’s voice sounds remarkably similar when he was in his 40s compared to his 80s.

“See, I think that’s all luck," he said, adding that he does not have any regimen to keep his voice fresh.

"I’m 85, as I’m sure you know. My hair hasn’t turned color. Why? I have no idea. I have a full head of hair and this is my color. I have never done anything to my hair. So, I’m lucky there. And about my voice, the fact that it’s the same as my 30s and 40s, I’m just very fortunate. I don’t know why."

Sterling doesn’t seem to take anything for granted. And that includes how much longer he’ll stay in the broadcast booth, which is now about 60% of games.

“I shouldn’t retire, as long as I can still do it, but I’m working far fewer games, which is a big thing," he said. "So, we’ll see what this year looks like. And if this is good and it works out, fine. If not, we’ll see.”

The focus is now on the present, but when he looks back, he said he can't believe his career.

“I have been on the air 64 years," he said. "It’s what I wanted to do, but no I could never have imagined how it all has worked out."