Howie Rose.

Howie Rose. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

When word trickled around on Monday that John Sterling was planning to retire from the Yankees' radio booth effective immediately, Howie Rose picked up the phone and called Sterling, who has had health issues in recent years.

“I didn’t probe, but he indicated he was OK,” Rose, the longtime Mets radio broadcaster, told Newsday on Wednesday at Citi Field. “He sounded great. So I'm just going to step back and say, ‘You know what? This is John. This is vintage John, to start the season and say, ‘You know, I’ve had it.’"

Sterling, 85, will be honored by the Yankees before Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium.

“I’m happy that he's doing it certainly on his terms,” said Rose, 70, who is calling about 100 Mets game on WCBS-880 this season. “Hopefully they are completely his terms. But he is a unique individual in every sense of the word. There's no template for doing what we do, anyway, because ultimately you've got to be yourself. And no one has exemplified himself on the air in this role any more or better than John.

“Most of us, we can throw a little extra personal revelation out there or just give you a little window into something that you might not know about us, and it's just a little crumb or a snippet. John’s an open book. John is John, and this was as John as anything John's ever done. That’s how I would put it.”

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