Thursday, September 25, 2014

The End of the Bob Sheppard Era

As we all know the great Derek Jeter is retiring at season’s end but one thing that many around New York aren’t taking about or haven’t thought about is we are also saying goodbye to Bob Sheppard. Sheppard has been the voice of the Yankees for quite some time now and has continued to announce Jeter’s at bats even after his death. The “Voice of God” is also retiring at the end of tonight’s game as well as he does not announce Jeter on the road. With this being the final game of Jeter’s career in the great Yankee Stadium we bid him farewell, but don’t forget to also thank and bid farewell to Sheppard as well.

Sheppard made his debut as the Yankees announcer on April 17, 1951 in a 5-0 win for the Yankees over the Boston Red Sox. Sheppard’s first game featured eight Hall of Fame players including Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Mize, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto for the Yankees and Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, and Lou Boudreau for the Red Sox. This was the one and only season under Sheppard that DiMaggio and Mantle shared an outfield. The first player that Sheppard ever announced was the Red Sox leadoff hitter Dominic DiMaggio.

Sheppard officially retired at age 95 when he called his final game on September 5, 2007 against the Seattle Mariners after battling a hip injury and deteriorating health. Sheppard missed the entire 2008 season including the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium but did gather enough strength to announce the starting lineups in the final game ever played at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008. Sheppard passed away at his home on July 11, 2010 three months and nine days shy of his 100th birthday.

In 2008 Jeter asked Sheppard to record his at bat introductions and the recordings have been used in every single Jeter home at bat since. Sheppard was quoted as saying “it has been one of the greatest compliments I have received in my career of announcing. The fact that he wanted my voice every time he came to bat is a credit to his good judgment and humility.” Sheppard’s recording was also used at the 2010 All Star Game in Anaheim when the Yankee captain was announced, just two days after Sheppard’s death.

After this game tonight we may never hear Bob Sheppard’s voice in Yankee Stadium ever again and that gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)