"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

“The Voice of God” steps aside

Bob Sheppard

Bob Sheppard

According to this Jack Curry article in today’s Times, the man behind the mic at Yankee Stadium for nearly 60 years is retiring.

The new Yankee Stadium will sound much different than the old one. Bob Sheppard, the public-address announcer for the Yankees since 1951, has retired.

Paul Doherty, a friend and agent who has represented Sheppard, said Sheppard’s son, Paul, told him about Sheppard’s plans on Wednesday morning.

“I think Bob just wants to take it easy and no longer have the pressure of, ‘Can he? Will he? Or won’t he?’” Doherty said in an e-mail message. “And, at 98, who can blame him?”

Doherty added that Sheppard remained active.

“I’m happy to say that Bob is still doing well enough to drive a car,” Doherty said. “He picked his son up at the train this past weekend.”

It is truly a shame that Mr. Sheppard won’t be able to provide his dulcet tones towards the line-ups at the opening of the new Stadium on the 16th.  But he was a constant for over 57 years with the Yankees . . . rarely missing a game . . . with an instantly-identifiable voice and timbre.

How many of us have mimicked Mr. Sheppard’s intonations over the years when we stepped to the plate in our softball/baseball games?  How many of us still take joy in hearing “Number 2 . . . Derek Jeter . . . Number 2 . . . ” when the Captain comes to bat?

We wish you well Mr. Sheppard, and thank you for adding so much to our experiences at the Stadium.

UPDATE as of 4:18PM : The Yankees have officially refuted the story.

The Yankees denied the report, stating that Sheppard continues to be their official public-address announcer.

“We have spoken to Paul Sheppard, and he was very clear to us that the report made is categorically untrue,” said Yankees director of public relations Jason Zillo. “Paul Sheppard has not said anything remotely like that.”

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Diane Firstman

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 1, 2009 3:35 pm

Definitely gonna miss him.

2 FreddySez   ~  Apr 1, 2009 3:36 pm

Mr. Sheppard is a treasure and I wish him the best. Even if he won't make it behind the microphone, I hope he'll be able to visit the new stadium at some point to take in a much-deserved ovation.

In time, we may look back and find it fitting that his voice will be identified exclusively (within baseball, anyway) with the old ballpark.

3 yankee23   ~  Apr 1, 2009 3:43 pm

According to PeteAbe, it sounds like nothing's official yet:

"UPDATE, 3:10 p.m.: The Yankees are now saying that the Sheppard retirement story is news to them. It’s safe to say the odds are slim that he returns to work regularly. But there has been no official retirement."

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Apr 1, 2009 3:59 pm

we all saw this one coming I think. But as long as he's in (for a 98 year old at least) good health, thats all you can ask for.

I still think it would be great if he could make it out for Opening Day, do just that one game, then go home and enjoy himself.

5 OldYanksFan   ~  Apr 1, 2009 4:06 pm

We should definitely retire his number.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 1, 2009 6:26 pm

Hell, we should retire and guild his mic. Ain't no one like him.

7 rbj   ~  Apr 1, 2009 6:59 pm

Well he hasn't officially retired. But it is clear that even with taking all last year off, Mr. Sheppard isn't coming back. A wonderful voice, and a wonderful career.

8 monkeypants   ~  Apr 1, 2009 7:02 pm

First of all, the story was broken in the NY Times, so its veracity should immediately have been questioned. Second, at 98 years old, one is always close to retirement. He'll be back for at least a few games this year--that's my prediction--but after that I doubt it.

9 hiscross   ~  Apr 1, 2009 10:49 pm

He'll never retire. GOD has him scheduled in the future to do games in heaven. My prayers tell me that in heaven 2004 and 2007 never happened.

10 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 1, 2009 10:52 pm

monkey, granted the Times makes things up at will in their news division, but I always thought their sports section was a little better

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