My buddy Hyder hates the New York Yankees with every fiber of his being, but I’m guessing that even Steve was saddened to hear the recent news that a Yankee legend officially announced his retirement this week – Bob Sheppard.
Sheppard – who Reggie Jackson called “The Voice of God” – was the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium for more than 50 years and is one of the most frequently imitated voices in sports. Close your eyes and imagine a very deep baritone saying the following words with a slight echo:
Now batting for the Yankees . . . number two . . . Derek Jee-tuh . . .number two
Sheppard, who turned 99 last month, has battled health problems in recent years and has not been behind the Yankee Stadium microphone since late in the 2007 season. Paul Olden handled P.A. duties at the new Yankee Stadium this year, although Jeter continues to come to the plate to a tape of Sheppard’s introduction. The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees had Sheppard record a series of stadium announcements that they play before every game at PNC Field.
By the way, I have a connection to Paul Olden. When the Tampa Bay Rays were hiring their first radio broadcasting team, they had five or six people come to Florida to do auditions at a minor league game and I was paired with Olden. One of us got the gig. It wasn’t me.
If you would like to hear Sheppard announce some of the great names in Yankee history as they come to the plate, there’s a wonderful tribute video on YouTube that you can find here.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.