Greetings, readers. When I watched New York Yankee baseball in the 1970s and early 80s there were many great voices. There was the trio of Bill White, Phil Rizzuto, and Frank Messer. I loved all three and they worked well together, but they weren’t my favorite. My favorite voice of the New York Yankees was the pubic address announcer with that wonderfully distinct voice, Bob Sheppard. From 1951 through 2007, he announced generations of New York Yankees players to the fans in the stands, on the radio and on WPIX television.
With his rich deep voice, he would so eloquently announce each player. It was as though he was making each batter feel like he was the most important player on the team. It would go something like this, “Now batting … the shortstop number 2, Derek Jeter … number 2.” Players from Jeter to Jorge Posada to Reggie Jackson all had their names called in that wonderfully unique way.
I watched many baseball games from other teams and no pubic address announcer has caught my attention nearly as much as Bob Sheppard. I rank him right up there with legendary sportscasters Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, and Dick Enberg.
I was surprised to learn through his 2010 obit on the MLB website that he had called Yankees baseball games since the 50s. Players like Joe DiMaggio, Thurman Munson, and Bunky Dent had their names called by Mr. Sheppard. My two favorite moments were these: When the old Yankee stadium closed – Sheppard might have already been retired by then – he came on the P.A. system to a roaring crowd to say he hoped to see everyone at the new Yankee stadium. My other favorite moment was when he announced the great shortstop Jeter’s final all-star game at bat.
Mr. Sheppard, you will always be a bright spot in my childhood growing up watching Yankees baseball and I thank you for all those years of legendary P.A. work. I’m sure I’m not the only Yankees fan who echoes my sentiments. So to you sir, may you continue to rest in peace.
Until tomorrow, I bid you a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.