The Yankees continued to honor former PA announcer Bob Sheppard before and during today’s game.
Prior to the introductions of Old-Timers’ Day, the organization played a video on the big board. It spliced sound bits of Sheppard’s more famous introductions over the years with members of the organization talking about his significance.
The tribute kicked off the afternoon but was just a piece. Even before the video, the PA played an introduction given at a previous Old-Timers’ Day by Sheppard, who announced the event’s emcee’s, Michael Kay and John Sterling.
Kay and Sterling then introduced all the Old-Timers and followed by bringing out the widows of Billy Martin, Elston Howard, Thurmon Munson and Bobby Murcer. It ended with the introduction of Sheppard’s widow Mary. She was given a bouquet of flowers as she walked on the field. The former players then surrounded Mrs. Sheppard along the first-base line to offer their support.
The Yankees saved one special presentation for the seventh-inning stretch. After the playing of “God Bless America,” the PA played a video of Sheppard signing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” Sheppard made a tradition of signing the song every Mother’s Day. Today it replaced “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
The Old-Timers on hand for the ceremony all had kind words to share for Sheppard. Some grew close with him over the years. Others just shared tremendous respect for how Sheppard carried himself as a man.
Chris Chambliss remembered the first time Sheppard announced him to bat. “It was just — you’ve arrived,” Chambliss said. “That voice just rings in your ears.”
“I remember my first day as a Yankee,” Bucky Dent said. “Walking up from the on-deck circle and hearing him announce my name, it’s something you don’t forget.”
Although they talked seldom in recent years, Jerry Coleman said he considered Sheppard a friend. Coleman respected Sheppard’s work, saying no one every spoke the English language better.
“And Bob was just an eloquent, beautiful and delightful as a person as well,” Coleman said.
Photo credit: Associated Press