Wednesday, April 01, 2009

After 58 years, Sheppard silenced

When the New York Yankees are introduced on Opening Day at their new stadium, the crowd might not be listening to Bob Sheppard's voice for the first time in more than a half-century.

Sheppard, the venerable Voice of the Yankees who from 1951 to 2006 did not miss an Opening Day, is retiring, according to the New York Times.

Sheppard's resounding monotone style was a signature at Yankee Stadium, where he bellowed out the lineups for some of the Bronx Bombers' greatest teams.

"Now batt-ing for the Yank-ees, Number 2, Derek Jee-tah, Jee-tah", would echo throughout the cavernous confines of Yankee Stadium.

Sheppard's first announced lineup in 1951 included Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra. Now, it appears the 98-year old Sheppard has had enough.

I've visited 30 Major League ballparks. What I remember most about my initial visit to Yankee Stadium is hearing Sheppard's voice for the first time.
He's a true baseball treasure who'll be sorely missed.

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