The news today is filled with reflection upon the life and achievements of Bob Sheppard, the stadium announcer for both the New York Yankees (1951 – 2007) and the New York Giants (1956 – 2006). Nicknamed “The Voice of God,” Sheppard’s speaking resonance filled the air.
A professor in speech, Sheppard’s use of words drew attention to anything he discussed. Ronald Blum reminded readers in his Detroit News website article that audio recordings were made of Sheppard’s more famous announcements, including (use the inflections like you heard Bob use them!) “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Yankee Stadium.” Sheppard will be welcoming the crowds at Yankee Stadium for decades to come, giving future generations an awareness of baseball history and announcing etiquette that otherwise may have been lost. If you would like to read the full article, you can find it here
Some famous players Sheppard introduced in the line-up included Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Derek Jeter. Other reviews of his legacy included his way of familiarizing the crowd with each player. Mason Levinson reminded the public in his Businessweek.com article that, before a player’s first at-bat, Sheppard would announce the player’s position, uniform number, name, and number again. If you would like to read the full article, you can find it here
As recalled by Richard Goldstein in an NYtimes.com article on July 11, one embarrassing moment for Bob Sheppard occurred when the New York Giants played their first game at the Meadowlands against the Dallas Cowboys in October 1976. Sheppard enthusiastically welcomed the crowd to Yankee Stadium. If you would like to read the full article, you can find it here.
My favorite memory related to Bob Sheppard is from junior high school. I had back-to-back classes of English and Social Studies, both taught by the same instructor – hence, no changing of rooms. Our teacher, an extreme Yankees fan, did not like to miss a game. He made an agreement with us that, as long as we worked on our assignments, we could listen to the radio broadcast of the game.
How easy it was to remain silent while Bob Sheppard’s voice kept us informed of the plays in the game, while including incidental sidelines about what else was occuring on the field. Sheppard was so compelling with his speech and articulation that I practiced announcing events, hoping to give others enjoyment while hearing my take on the action.
Goldstein included a tribute by George Steinbrenner, principal owner of the Yankees, which sums up the feeling in the articles I read and coverage I saw, saying in part, “…his (Sheppard’s) death leaves a lasting silence.”
Richard Goldstein, ‘Bob Sheppard, Mellifluous Voice of the Yankees, dies at 99’, www.nytimes.com
Ronald Blum, AP, ‘Revered Yankees PA man Bob Sheppard dies at 99’, detbews,com
[email protected] “Bob Sheppard dies at 99, Yankee Stadium PA announcer, http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-bob-sheppard-20100712,0,2490456.story,
Mason Levinson, ‘Bob Sheppard, Yankee Stadium’s ‘Voice of God,’ Dies http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-11/bob-sheppard-yankee-stadium-s-voice-of-god-dies.html
CBS2 New York via Yahoo! News – Jul 11 04:31 pm, Video, Legendary Yankees PA Announcer Sheppard Dead at 99 , http://news.yahoo.com/video/newyorkcbs2-15751042/legendary-yankees-pa-announcer-sheppard-dead-at-99-20820417