Bob Addie, 71, a reporter and sports columnist at The Washington Post and other newspapers here for nearly four decades before he retired in 1977, died of cardiorespiratory arrest Monday night at Suburban Hospital. He had had several strokes since last May and had undergone two operations.

Mr. Addie was one of 10 children of Antonio Addie, a butcher. He grew up in a tenement in New York City. During his working life, he counted among his fans and acquaintances presidents, generals and judges.

After retiring from The Washington Post, he wrote a book called "Sports Writer." In its introduction he mentioned some of the people who had wished him well at the close of his newspaper career--President Jimmy Carter, Judge John Sirica, American League President Lee MacPhail, Supreme Court Justice Byron White and many others. In his working years he had chatted easily with Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman.

Mr. Addie came to Washington in the 1930s as a reporter for the old Washington Times-Herald. He covered sports and general news. At one time he had front-page stories for 26 straight days as he reported on a sensational murder trial.

"He had one hitch on the city news side," said Joe Holman, a Washington sports publicist and longtime friend of Mr. Addie. "He was so sensational they didn't want to give him back to sports. But he went back anyway."

He was a graduate of the University of Alabama journalism school, which he attended with earnings accrued from working behind a soda counter. At Alabama he was on the boxing team, and as Post reporter Thomas Boswell wrote in a retrospective at the time of Mr. Addie's retirement, "He was that rare youth who couldn't figure out which he liked to do better--slug it out with a good middleweight or write poetry and songs."

He chose in the end to write, taking a job with the New York Journal-American after graduation and later moving on to the Times-Herald in Washington. He joined the Army Air Forces in World War II, serving in the European Theater. He rejoined the service during the Korean conflict.

During the years between the wars he began covering the Washington Senators, a job that became a passion for him. He took great pride in being able to say, "I never missed a day with the Senators in 20 years."

In 1949 he married Pauline Betz, the 1946 women's Wimbledon tennis champion and holder of four U.S. national tennis championships. The Addies had four sons, Robert, Jon, Gary and Richard, and a daughter, Kim, all of whom, with Mrs. Addie and two grandchildren, are survivors.

When The Washington Post bought The Times-Herald in 1954, Mr. Addie joined the sports staff of The Post.

For years Mr. Addie, who made a trademark of his penchant for red socks and dark glasses, wrote six and seven newspaper columns a week, covered the Senators and wrote a weekly column for the Sporting News. His style was decidedly upbeat. "I wrote like a fan because I always was one," he once said. "I wrote like one of the players' friends because I was that, too. And I always emphasized the good."

He was recipient of several honors: president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, National Press Club awards and numerous appearances in "Best Sports Stories" anthologies.

Since retirement Mr. Addie, who lived in Bethesda, had worked on his book, which was published in 1980, played golf and served on the committee to select members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.