RIP Bob Sheppard, 1910-2010
Bob Sheppard was nicknamed “The Voice of God” by Reggie Jackson. He was the Yankee Stadium announcer from 1951 until 2007. His unique, elegant style set the standard for what an announcer should be. Derek Jeter says he’ll still use Sheppard’s recorded introduction when he goes to bat.
“Players changed year in and year out, he was the one constant,” Jeter said. “Every time you heard it, you got chills.”
When the team moved into new Yankee Stadium last year, it honored him by naming the media dining room after him.
In a prepared statement, Yankees principal owner George M. Steinbrenner called Sheppard “a good friend and fine man whose voice set the gold standard for America’s sports announcers.
“For over a half century, fans were thrilled to hear his unforgettable voice and players were thrilled to hear his majestic enunciation of their names,” Steinbrenner said. “Bob Sheppard was a great member of the Yankees family and his death leaves a lasting silence. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Mary, and their family.”
Sheppard was as much a part of the Yankee franchise as was Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.
Unlike the shrill shills of later generations, Sheppard conducted himself with an understated and dignified delivery. He employed perfect diction, befitting a man who considered his real job teaching speech at St. John’s. He graduated from the school in 1932 and later worked there for more than 25 years.
Bob Sheppard was honored by the Yankees on May 7, 2000, during his 50th season as the team’s stadium announcer.
“A P.A. announcer is not a cheerleader, or a circus barker, or a hometown screecher,” the epitome of the old-school style once said. “He’s a reporter.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi says, “You realize you’ve hit the big lights when Bob Sheppard announces your name.” Put in its best perspective, Clyde Haberman wrote in the New York Times five years ago, “Mr. Sheppard could read Eminem lyrics and make them sound like the Magna Carta.”
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2010 Liberaland