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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Bob Sheppard passes away

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 11, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Obit Sheppard

The Yankees just announced that Bob Sheppard has passed away. He was 99 years old. His wife was with him when he died.

Obviously, taking the job when I did, I never met Mr. Sheppard. I’ll have player reaction when the clubhouse opens. For now, the Yankees sent this lengthy obituary.

It is with deep sadness that the New York Yankees announce the passing of longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard – “The Voice of Yankee Stadium.” Sheppard passed away this morning at his home in Baldwin, N.Y., with his wife, Mary, by his side. He was 99 years old.

A wake will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Fullerton Funeral Home located at 769 Merrick Road, Baldwin, Long Island, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day. The funeral will be held on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. at St. Christopher’s Church at 11 Gale Avenue in Baldwin.

Born in Ridgewood, Queens, Sheppard began his tenure as Yankees public address announcer on April 17, 1951—Opening Day of Joe DiMaggio’s final season and Mickey Mantle’s Major League debut. Among the approximately 4,500 baseball games he worked over his tenure with the Yankees were an incredible 121 consecutive postseason contests (1951-2006), including 62 games in 22 World Series.

“Most men go to work, but I go to a game,” Sheppard said. “How many men would love to do that?”

Sheppard’s incredible career behind the microphone started when he volunteered his services for a charity football game in Freeport, Long Island, in the late 1940s. An executive from the Brooklyn Dodgers football team of the All-America Conference was at the game. He liked Sheppard’s style (“clear, concise and correct”) and hired him. The football Dodgers folded after only one season at Ebbets Field (1948), but one of their opponents—the New York football Yankees—heard Sheppard’s booming voice and offered him their PA job at Yankee Stadium. Baseball’s Yankees then heard him and offered him the same role for them for the 1950 season. Though his teaching schedule could not accommodate the 77-game home schedule for baseball (plus World Series games) and he turned down the offer for 1950, he reconsidered the next year.

In addition to his baseball duties, Sheppard was the public address voice for the football Giants for 50 seasons—from their move to Yankee Stadium in 1956 until his retirement after the 2005 season. Sheppard also served the New York Titans of the American Football League at the Polo Grounds, the New York Stars of the World Football League at Downing Stadium, the New York Cosmos (soccer) and St. John’s University basketball and football. Sheppard also handled PA duties for five Army-Navy football games in Philadelphia.

Some of the events he listed as the most memorable of his incredible career were: Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series on October 8, 1956; Roger Maris’ 61st home run on October 1, 1961; Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series on October 18, 1977; and the Giants-Colts overtime NFL Championship Game on December 28, 1958.

In one of the game’s truly memorable moments, Sheppard introduced President George W. Bush before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series (on October 30) as Mr. Bush became the first sitting President to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

Sheppard attended St. John’s College, which eventually became St. John’s University. Always a talented athlete, he received a full athletic scholarship to the school, playing quarterback on the football team all four years. He later enrolled at Columbia University, where he received his master’s degree in speech and worked his way up from teacher-in-training to substitute teacher to permanent teacher to department chairman. In order to supplement his teaching salary, Sheppard played semiprofessional football on Sundays in Long Island with the Valley Stream Red Riders and the Hempstead Monitors, earning $25 a game.

In 1998, Sheppard was presented with the prestigious William J. Slocum “Long and Meritorious Service” Award by the New York chapter of the BBWAA as well as the “Pride of the Yankees” award by the ballclub. Yankee Stadium’s media dining room was named “Sheppard’s Place” prior to the 2009 season to commemorate his legacy.

On May 7, 2000, a plaque was dedicated to Sheppard in Monument Park of the original Yankee Stadium to commemorate his 50th anniversary season.

The native New Yorker was elected to the St. John’s University Sports Hall of Fame, the Long Island Sports Hall of Fame and the New York Sports Hall of Fame. He was awarded honorary doctorates from St. John’s University (Pedagogy) and Fordham University (Rhetoric), and in 2007, received St. John’s’ Medal of Honor, the highest award that the university can confer on a graduate.

Sheppard also made cameo appearances in numerous motion pictures and television shows, including 61*, It’s My Turn, It Could Happen to You, Anger Management, Seinfeld and Mad About You.

Sheppard announced his final game at Yankee Stadium on September 5, 2007, a 3-2 Yankees victory over the Kansas City Royals.

At the request of Derek Jeter, a recording of Sheppard announcing his name has been played prior to each of his at-bats since Sheppard’s absence in 2007.

On September 21, 2008, Sheppard provided a valedictory in the bottom of the seventh inning of the final game at the original Yankee Stadium. Unable to say goodbye in person as he continued to recover from illness that had kept him away from the Stadium since the final weeks of the 2007 season, Sheppard gave his tribute through a taped segment played on the video board. He recited, “Farewell, old Yankee Stadium, farewell / What a wonderful story you can tell / DiMaggio, Mantle, Gehrig and Ruth / A baseball cathedral in truth.”

Associated Press photo.

 
 

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52 Responses to “Bob Sheppard passes away”

  1. Hurley July 11th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    RIP

  2. Golden July 11th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    RIP Mr. Sheppard. You will be missed.

  3. sunny615 July 11th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    deepest condolences to the Sheppard family.

  4. teddy3321 July 11th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    rip

  5. Tracy July 11th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Great! Thanks…

  6. Erin July 11th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    RIP Bob Sheppard. :(

  7. Tar July 11th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    You will be missed Mr. Sheppard.

  8. Yanks42fan28 July 11th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    RIP Mr. Sheppard…classy man…amazing voice…definitely will be missed. You are a legend now…a true Yankee legend.

  9. eric July 11th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Thankful we get to hear him every time Derek comes to the plate.

  10. Noreaster July 11th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Rest in peace Mr. Sheppard. He will be remembered as the greatest stadium announcer of all time.

  11. Zach S July 11th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Very sad day indeed. RIP Mr. Sheppard. You will be missed.

  12. joe July 11th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    the voice of god has been silenced.

  13. E-gawa July 11th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    RIP

  14. RSM July 11th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Literally generations of fans have grown up dreaming of one day playing in Yankee Stadium, and a big part of that dream is Bob Sheppard announcing their name as they approach the plate. How many kids on how many playgrounds over how many years have tried to imitate him? That booming, one of a kind voice.
    My father and I were both so fortunate. It makes me sad that my one year old son won’t get to experience it.
    R.I.P. Mr Sheppard, R.I.P.

  15. Hurley July 11th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    G-d bless him, he worked a job he loved well into his mid-late 90′s. We should all be so lucky.

    My condolences to the Sheppard family. Let’s celebrate his legacy by winning it all this year!

  16. Jerkface July 11th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    CaraJerk, right now Matt Kemp isn’t in Robi’s league. The only thing he does better is baserun.

    Well, Kemp can certainly play centerfield better than Cano! I’m happy that Cano wasn’t traded, but I don’t think its insulting to suggest Cano have been traded for Kemp.

  17. sox fan July 11th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    As a lifelong Sox fan and Yankees hater….RIP to a class act, a professional, an old pro. Fantastic life, fantastic job, fantastic man.

  18. Billy D July 11th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    His wife was with him when he passed? God bless her. Her the rest of the Sheppard family.

  19. Hurley July 11th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I remember seeing a Yankees special on Bob Sheppard, maybe ten years ago. Given his talent for enunciating and articulating without peer, he was asked what name he enjoyed pronouncing the most.

    “Shigetoshi Hasegawa,” he replied.

  20. Joe from Long Island July 11th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    A great man. Nothing else to say. A great man.

  21. EricNS July 11th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    There will never be another like him. RIP

  22. Drive 4-6 July 11th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I was fortunate enough to be at the last game in the Stadium. Mr Sheppard’s tribute was emotional for the fans not just because of the subject, but because everyone knew that could be the last time we’d hear his wonderful voice.

    God bless, Mr. Sheppard. May you rest in peace.

  23. THE TRUTH July 11th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    That video speech he gave at the last game in Old Yankee stadium was awesome I will never forget it.

  24. Yank in NV. July 11th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    One of America’s finest !

  25. Mike Ri July 11th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    RIP . Mr Sheppard

  26. THE TRUTH July 11th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Can some one please help me figure this out.

    Some one was giving their memory of Bob Sheppard, and they basically said “He is so good, it seemed like you could hear him pronounce both R’s in so and so’s name?”

    Basically, it was a player’s name were there were two R’s next to each other or maybe even two L’s. Or maybe even it was a silent letter? It was an awesome quote and I can not remember it.

    Does anyone know what I am talking about?

  27. Bronx Born July 11th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    A great voice that will always be remembered.

  28. rj July 11th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Huh, I never knew Sheppard was born in my ‘hood. I was born in Ridgewood too.

    As long as Jeter is a Yankee, they should have a recording play of Sheppard to announce his plate appearances. Classic – “Jete-ter”

  29. rj July 11th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Red Sox 2004 2007 Champions July 11th, 2010 at 12:38 pm
    Good riddance. Its time to join the other overrated Yankees in the ground. While our Remy and Hall of Fame Peter Gammons survive, the Yankees Murcer and Billy Martin get put in the ground accordingly

    Along with your loved ones, hopefully. Guess when you’re 5 games back in third place, this is the best you can do at trolling.

  30. this space for rent July 11th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    to the POS above:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqP3wT5lpa4

  31. Guru Man July 11th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I know this thread is about Bob S and deservedly so, but I thought this guys post on Joba was spot on and answered some of this boards stuff.

    http://stevewigdor.blogspot.com/

    He may be giving a little too much of a pass on Joba, but I liked his analysis.

  32. blake July 11th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    RIP Mr. Shepard.

  33. Pat M. in Seattle July 11th, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    GurU Man……He gives Joba a huge pass, to even suggest that Cervelli had a chance to catch Joba’s wild pitch is absurd……..I read the piece due to your endorsement, but frankly I was done with it after the first paragraph……

  34. Erin July 11th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    BloggingBombers Pettitte on Sheppard: “He was obviously a legend; a tradition with the Yankees. When you think of the Yankees, you think of him announcing.”

    BloggingBombers More Pettitte on Sheppard: “When you think about the Yankees and the old stadium, there’s no doubt you think about him.”

  35. blake July 11th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Joba misSEd hiS spot by about two feet on that wild pitch….Cervelli isn’t spiderman.

  36. Vikram July 11th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    RIP

  37. DW July 11th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    RIP Bob Sheppard

  38. this space for rent July 11th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Would it have mattered? Joba wasn’t getting out of that inning unscathed, imho.

    He’s single-handedly keeping TB and Boston in the race.

  39. andrew33 July 11th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    a hall of famer, shepperd will always be remembered, what a career, condolences to his family

  40. Erin July 11th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    New post w/lineup

    :arrow:

  41. murphydog July 11th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Do not mourn. Celebrate a life well lived and long.

    99 years old, dying at home with his wife at his side. Somehow the whole Yankee Stadium thing comes in second to that.

  42. bardos July 11th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Bob Sheppard:
    Now I am experiencing the Clear Light of objective reality. Nothing is happening, nothing ever has happened or ever will happen. My present sense of self, the Voyager, is in reality the void itself, having no qualities or characteristics. I remember myself as the Voyager, whose deepest nature is the Clear Light itself; I am one; there is no other. I am the voidness of the void, the eternal unborn, the uncreated, neither real nor unreal. All that I have been conscious of is my own play of consciousness, a dance of light, the swirling patterns of light in infinite extension, endless endlessness, the Absolute beyond change, existence, reality. I, the Voyager, am inseparable from the Clear Light; I cannot be born, die, exist, or change. I know now that this is my true nature.

  43. random reader July 11th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    The obituary has an error. His last game was not a Yankees-Royals game (the Yankees were on the road). The Yankees hosted and defeated the Seattle Mariners on Sept 5 by a 10-2 score. So that is his last game.

    I actually have a video of his lineup reading:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYd71Z7qOIY

  44. Rick July 11th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    The echo of his comforting voice will be heard forever. Lucky are those that had their name announced by the truly great Bob Sheppard who now resides at the big Stadium in the heavens above.

  45. Susyn Waldman July 11th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DIDNT HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF KNOWING BAWWWB LIKE I DID, LET ME TELL YOU. HE WAS GOOD PEOPLE. HE’D ALWAYS BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO THE BALLPARK AND HE WAS JUST AS FRIENDLY AS YOU COULD IMAGINE. BAWWWB WILL TRULY BE…. OHHHHMYYYGAWWWWDDD!!! ITS RAWWWGER CLEMENS!!! RAWWGER CLEMENS IS IN MISTAHHH SEIIIIN BRENNAHHHS BAWWWXXXX!!! OOOHHH MYYY GAWWWDDDDD!!!!

  46. Bill July 11th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    RIP Mr. Sheppard, you’ve impacted everyone’s life who ever went to a Yankee game and thank you!

  47. Icebird753 July 11th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I sure hope Gene Monahan won’t have to worry about this anytime soon. This is sad news, and I hope Geno never has to worry about cancer any more in his life. At least Bob died of very old age though, what a purposeful and wonderful life. RIP to the man known as the “Voice of God”

  48. Ant928 July 11th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    OK…for the Suzyn impersonator…f**k you…for the Sox trolls…f**k you…for ANYONE who brought up ANYTHING not related to Mr. Sheppard…f**k you. For those of you who blasted Chad for not posting this fast enough…f**k you.

    To the rest of us…I applaud the endeavors and presence of “The Voice of God”. I was happy to hear him for 30 years. And for those who say “Oh the poor man”…I must say this…I hope I live and go and die as “poorly” as he did.

    Rest in peace Mr. Sheppard. As “The Boss” said when Scooter died “God must have needed a shortstop”…guess what? He now has someone to announce are Celestial All Star lineup.

  49. Bret the Hitman July 11th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    RIP

  50. lil' m July 11th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Rest in peace

  51. joe m. July 12th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    None of the obits mentioned his teaching Public Speaking at John Adams H.S. in Ozone Park, Queens, but that is where I met him and he helped me with advice that stays with me 65 years later.

  52. BrentSTL July 14th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    A bit late, I know, but from a lifelong, card-carrying citizen of Cardinal Nation, RIP to Mr. Sheppard and to Mr. Steinbrenner and condolences to their families.

    All the great voices are going – Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Harry Kalas, Ernie Harwell, Mel Allen, Red Barber, to name a few, and now Bob Sheppard. When Vin Scully goes, you know it’s the end of a great era. Not many announcers can carry these folks’ microphone cases, and that’s sad to see.


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