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10/29/09 1:54 AM EST

Waldman makes World Series history

Becomes first woman to broadcast Fall Classic game

NEW YORK -- In the beginning, Suzyn Waldman had to endure begrudging players and sexist fans. That's the product of being first.

But Waldman relished the opportunity that Yankees owner George Steinbrenner gave her, hiring her as a television analyst at a time when women simply didn't hold such positions. It was because of Steinbrenner that Waldman was able to climb to the top of a male-dominated field, and because of Steinbrenner that Waldman on Wednesday became the first woman in history to broadcast a World Series game.

"If I live to be 150, I could never thank George Steinbrenner enough," Waldman said.

A fixture in the Yankees' clubhouse for more than two decades, Waldman has worked as a play-by-play woman, an analyst, a host and a reporter, but has never had the privilege of broadcasting a World Series game.

In Waldman's fifth year in a position to do so, as an analyst for WCBS radio, the Yankees finally made the World Series again. And so the team's public relations staff took a moment to recognize her during the middle of Wednesday's World Series Game 1.

"It was very important to me, and it meant a lot," Waldman said. "It really meant a lot to me. It's the highest thing you can do in baseball, broadcast a World Series game."

Waldman, 63, was the second woman in history to regularly serve as a full-time color commentator for a Major League Baseball team, and the second woman to serve as a play-by-play announcer. Since 2005, she has worked as an analyst alongside WCBS radio play-by-play man John Sterling, after spending nearly two decades covering the Yankees for WFAN and the YES Network.

Waldman has also endured her share of criticism, most recently for an on-air outburst in 2007 when the Yankees announced that Roger Clemens was rejoining the team, then in the clubhouse in '08, when she shed tears after what became Joe Torre's final game managing the Yankees. After that incident, Waldman, a breast cancer survivor, publicly decried her critics as "sexist."

It was just one of the numerous battles Waldman has had to fight over more than two decades in the game. But the payoff, she said, has been worth it.

More than her groundbreaking work in radio and television, Waldman said minutes after the final out Wednesday that the night was the highlight of her career.

"Oh, it's No. 1," Waldman said. "It's the World Series."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.