I was born in New York City and spent my wonder years there, and if you were a boy in New York at that time, you were a Yankee fan by birthright. I have many fond memories of my Dad taking me to games. After walking through the gray and grimy Bronx, going through the tunnel into the stands and seeing all that green grass was like the door opening after Dorothy’s house landed in The Wizard of Oz.
I’m no longer a Yankee fan – haven’t been for a long time – but the passing of Bob Sheppard deserves mention. Like the classic announcers that are slowly dwindling away, Sheppard’s introductions were memorable and classy and timeless. He started announcing Yankee games in 1951 and continued until late in 2007, and his reverential tone was used to introduce every Yankee great from Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle to the present day. Reggie Jackson referred to him as “the voice of God“; more than one superstar player admitted that his introduction gave them goosebumps.
One of the many reasons that Derek Jeter will go down as one of the greatest Yankees ever is his respect for the game and tradition. After Sheppard retired, Jeter asked that Bob’s taped introduction continue to be used every time he came up to the plate.
Ninety-nine years is a long life, and Sheppard’s loss will undoubtedly be felt by many, many friends and associates. But you can smile knowing that when you die and move on to whatever state of consciousness you believe in, Bob Sheppard will be there to announce your entrance in that rich, deep voice.
Bob Sheppard wiki page.