Yankees’ Bob Sheppard, ‘The Voice of God,’ dies; revered public address man thought to be 99By Ronald Blum, AP
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Revered Yankees PA man Bob Sheppard dies
NEW YORK — Bob Sheppard, the iconic Yankee Stadium public address announcer whose impeccable introductions of stars from Joe DiMaggio to Derek Jeter earned him the nickname “The Voice of God,” has died. He was believed to be 99.
The Yankees didn’t immediately release additional details but were to do later in the day, team spokesman Jason Zillo said Sunday.
Sheppard started with the Yankees in 1951 and he last worked at Yankee stadium late in the 2007 season, when he became ill with a bronchial infection. He recorded a greeting to fans that was played at the original ballpark’s final game in September 2008, and his audio recording still is used to introduce Jeter before each at-bat at home by the Yankees captain.
When the team moved into new Yankee Stadium last year, it honored him by naming the media dining room after him.
While Sheppard didn’t like to give his age, a former Yankees official had confirmed in 2006 that Sheppard was born Oct. 12, 1910.
The Yankees’ lineup for Sheppard’s first game on April 17, 1951, included DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Mize, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto. And the opponents that day, the Boston Red Sox, were led by Ted Williams.
Sheppard became as much as a fixture in the Bronx ballpark as the familiar white stadium facade or Monument Park, tucked behind the blue outfield wall.
In May 2000, after 50 years and two weeks on the job, the team honored him with “Bob Sheppard Day” and put a plaque in his honor in Monument Park. Fans gave Sheppard a standing ovation, and legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite read the inscription. Berra, Reggie Jackson and Don Larsen were among those who stood on the field during the ceremonies.
“The voice of Yankee Stadium,” read the plaque. “For half a century, he has welcomed generations of fans with his trademark greeting, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Yankee Stadium.’”
He also served as the stadium voice of the NFL’s New York Giants from 1956-05, and for men’s basketball and football at St. John’s, where he taught. But baseball is what made him famous.
He announced at 62 World Series games and a pair of All-Star games, and introduced more than 70 Hall of Famers across his career. It was one of them, Jackson, who dubbed Sheppard “The Voice of God.”
His player introductions remained consistent throughout the decades, with Sheppard imbuing each name and number with a gravitas more befitting a coronation than a ballpark: “No. 7. Mickey Mantle. No. 7.” Or even “No. 58. Dooley Womack. No. 58.”
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