Bob Sheppard: A Tribute To a Man I Barely Knew

July 11, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

This morning, I logged into Twitter and saw on the top of my news feed that legendary Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard had died at the age of 99.

Although I just started getting into baseball a year or two ago, I felt saddened by this loss.

I knew my parents and grandparents had listened to him announce games in the earlier years of Yankees baseball. Even my younger brother had been in the presence of his voice in some of the first trips he took to the old Yankee Stadium.  

I never experienced a game at Yankee Stadium called by Sheppard.

I do remember the first time I heard his voice.

I was fascinated by the spectacle that was the final game at Yankee Stadium in September 2008. I couldn’t be there. I watched the ceremonies on TV with my family. When I heard him announce the Yankees starting lineup, I was fascinated to hear him call the players’ jersey numbers, their names, and their number again.

I asked my mom why he did that. She said he had always done it that way. It was his trademark, if you will.

Between Sheppard’s unique way of announcing players and his eloquent voice, I knew he was someone different. He was a far cry from some of the PA announcers in sports today, who sound like they should be calling a monster truck show or WWE match rather than a professional sporting event.

Sheppard was there for many of the historic moments in Yankee Stadium.

Among the one that most stuck out to me (and probably one of the defining moments of my generation) was when President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.

In an article about the legendary stadium in Sports Illustrated, the writer, who was writing as if Yankee Stadium could talk, mentioned how many fans started chanting “U-S-A!” “U-S-A!” when Bush threw out the first pitch.

After watching that moment on the YES Network today, I got the idea that along with being able to see their Yankees, the voice of Sheppard was probably as much of a comfort to the fans, if not more.

It symbolized how special Yankees baseball still was to New Yorkers, even in the wake of the nation’s biggest tragedy. They were in a place they all held near and dear to their hearts. Sheppard was there to lead the way.

Sure, I have heard Sheppard’s voice. He does a commercial announcement on YES. I will hear his voice at Yankee Stadium this Saturday when he announces that Derek Jeter is up to bat.

I just wish I could’ve heard it in person.

If Sheppard had lived a few more months, he would’ve had his 100th birthday.

But even though he died at 99, I truly believe he lived a long and fulfilling life.

When you get to know famous names such as Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Thurman Munson, witness several World Series victories, and call one of the greatest sports stadiums in the world your workplace, I’d say you lived a pretty darn good life.

Even better, Sheppard will live on forever.

He will always call Jeter to the plate.

There is a monument in his honor in Monument Park. New generations of fans will be able to learn about a type of person who is rare to come across these days.

I’m pretty positive that down the road, Yankeeography will do a special on him that will air time and time again.

How many of us can really say this about our own lives?

I can’t.

R.I.P, Bob Sheppard.

Those that got to experience you in person are very fortunate.

Even if we didn’t, we are grateful for the memories.

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readers comments
  1. Jerome on July 29th, 2014 10:00 pm



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