Bob Costas has covered a LOT of sporting events. Hockey, basketball, boxing, golf, football, just to name a few. But most people who have followed his career know that his great, first love is baseball. For years, he carried a Mickey Mantle baseball card in his wallet. Once, he hosted an interview show called Studio 42 with Bob Costas, 42 being Jackie Robinson’s number.
Costas is also well-known as a host for a dozen Olympics between 1988 and 2016, with a vast knowledge of sports. And other topics, as I discovered when he hosted Later, a late-late talk show (1:30 – 2 a.m.) he hosted on NBC between 1988 and 1994. He won one of his first of about two dozen Emmys for his last season of the program.
Brooks and Marsh describe the show: “Each telecast was devoted to a single guest, whose life was profiled with film clips and who then joined Bob in later’s overstuffed chairs.” I set my VCR to record episodes that interested me, so quite often. The guests were “TV celebrities, sports stars, with a few newsmen and politicians thrown in.” IMDB calls him “a smart interviewer with encyclopedic knowledge and a devilish sense of humor.”
“His father’s roots are Greek…and his mother is of Irish and German descent.” He was born in Queens, New York City, and grew up in Commack in Suffolk County on Long Island. He worked in Syracuse, NY radio and television even before he graduated in 1974 from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Much has been made over the years of his appearance. “Don Ohlmeyer, who at the time ran the network’s sports division, told 28-year-old Costas he looked like a 14-year-old.” Additionally, at 5’7″ (170 cm), he is a man of modest height.
He has appeared in about two dozen TV programs and movies as Bob Costas, and in Cars and Cars 2 voicing Bob Cutlass. This doesn’t count the hundreds of times he served as a host, guest, or announcer. In 2021, he has a new show on HBO called Back-on-the-record with “interviews with the biggest names in sports, entertainment, and popular culture, which he discussed on the 7 November 2021 episode of CBS Sunday Morning.
His Wikipedia page lists some of his many accolades. I imagine, though, that receiving the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018 has to be the highlight.