Brian Hoch of MLB.com has the story, the voice of the Yankees (aka ‘Voice of God’) has officially called it a career. He writes:
Bob Sheppard served more than 50 seasons as the “Voice of Yankee Stadium,” his clear, concise and correct style proudly providing the soundtracks of summer for Yankees players from Joe DiMaggio to Derek Jeter.
One month after celebrating his 99th birthday by watching the Yankees inch closer to their 27th World Series championship — the first Fall Classic he missed in the Bronx since 1951 — Sheppard has decided it is time to officially cede control of his microphone to a successor.
“I have no plans of coming back,” Sheppard said on Wednesday in a telephone interview. “Time has passed me by, I think. I had a good run for it. I enjoyed doing what I did. I don’t think, at my age, I’m going to suddenly regain the stamina that is really needed if you do the job and do it well.”
Sheppard’s legendary service to the organization began by introducing the lineups on April 17, 1951, and spanned approximately 4,500 games, including 121 consecutive postseason contests, a streak that ended in 2007 due to illness.
He served as the public address announcer for three local teams in three different sports. Obviously the Yankees, as well as the NY Football Giants and St John’s Basketball and varsity Football teams until the early 1990′s. He was a star athlete in his own right, and is in the St. John’s University Sports Hall of Fame as an athlete. He earned seven varsity letters from 1928 to 1932, three in baseball as the starting first baseman, and four in football as the starting quarterback. He was also a Professor of Speech at St John’s University, and always considered that far more important than his work as an announcer.
What I’ll miss most was the care and respect he had for the English language. He treated every syllable with the assiduousness that a museum director would give a great painting. It’s a lost art, one which people don’t pay much attention to these days. If you noticed in the article, he said one of the reasons he’s not coming back was the preparation involved in announcing a game, meaning he would take the time to make sure he said each name perfectly. Not everyone who announces games does it that way, yet he obviously couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. He brought grace, class and dignity to the commoners world of Baseball and he will be missed.
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