Bob Sheppard honored in Congress • 11.17.10
As the second day of baseball’s general managers’ meetings gets started, I’ll pass this along: Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution — H. Res. 1529 — honoring Bob Sheppard. The resolution was voice voted with no opposition. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04) made the following statement in support.
“Today I ask my colleagues to support H. Res. 1529, commending Bob Sheppard for his long and respected career as the public-address announcer for the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.
On July 11, 2010, Mr. Sheppard passed away at the age 99 in his home in Baldwin, New York, in my district.
Mr. Sheppard was a constant in sports announcing for over fifty years.
His distinctive voice was recognizable to both players and fans.
Each game began with his trademark cadence- “Good afternoon ..ladies and gentlemen…and welcome…to Yankee Stadium”.
He performed the role as public address announcer at Yankee Stadium from opening day in 1951 through 2007.
And as the public-address announcer for the New York Giants from 1956 through 2005.
At the age of 62 he announced the World Series games, 2 All-Star Games, and has introduced more than 72 Hall of Famers throughout his career.
He will always be remembered for his clear, concise, and correct announcements and pronunciations, taking pride in the name of every player he introduced.
Bob Sheppard utilized his great oratory skills not only in the sports arena, but as the chairman of the speech department at John Adams High School in Queens and as a professor of speech at St. John’s University.
Bob Sheppard was honored for his fifty memorable years of service as the announcer at Yankee Stadium with Bob Sheppard Day, celebrated on May 7, 2000, and with a permanent plaque in Monument Park behind Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
His memorable voice will continue to live on as the recorded introduction of Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter.
My resolution serves to recognize the legacy of Bob Sheppard and his distinctive announcing style as a revered tradition not only to the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.
But also to the games of baseball and football, and the field of sports announcing.
I want to thank the fifty two cosponsors of the resolution, including members who are fans of other teams.
Additionally, the resolution commends Mr. Sheppard for his fifty-two years of service in the field of sports announcing and his dedication to spreading his knowledge and skill through teaching speech at both the high school and college levels.
Today I salute Bob Sheppard.
I ask my colleagues to support the resolution.”
The family of Bob Sheppard released a very gracious public statement today:
“Our family would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of condolences and support. We continue to be touched by the kind words and wonderful memories that so many people have shared with us.
“We are humbled that Bob holds a special place in the hearts of so many individuals – from fans of the New York Yankees and New York football Giants to former students at John Adams High School and St. John’s University. Your kindness has inspired us during this difficult time.”
A few notes on a slow night • 07.15.10
There are only seven games on the MLB schedule tonight which, you know, makes perfect sense since most players haven’t had a day off in a long time.
Either way, the Yankees are back at it tomorrow against the Rays and, for those who have asked, the YES Network WILL broadcast the pre-game ceremony and video tribute to George Steinbrenner, which the team says should get started around 6:45 p.m. The game itself will be on My9. A pre-game video tribute to Bob Sheppard is planned for Saturday, and there will also be a “special performance” recognizing Sheppard during the 7th-inning stretch, the team said.
Two other notes:
• All nine Nederlander theaters on Broadway will dim their lights for one minute tonight in honor of The Boss. Very cool and classy.
• Bernie Williams released a statement about George Steinbrenner through the team. Bernie has been out of the country performing, but wanted to offer his thoughts and condolences. Here is what he said:
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Steinbrenner today. It was a privilege to know and work for him, and my heart goes out to the entire Steinbrenner family.
“I will forever be grateful to Mr Steinbrenner for allowing me to become part of the Yankee organization, and then stay a Yankee for my entire career. He will go down as one of the greatest owners in the history of baseball, and all of sports. No one wanted to win more than Mr. Steinbrenner, and he did whatever it took to put his team in the best position to win. From there, it was up to all of us in the Yankee organization, from the front office, to the grounds crew, to the clubhouse assistants, to all of us players and staff, to do our jobs, and perform to the best of our ability.
“Year in and year out, inspired by his commitment to excellence, I always knew I had to be at the very top of my game to meet the high expectations he set. He made me a better baseball player – and for that, I will be forever grateful to him. He will be missed, and never forgotten”
Via the Yankees, here’s the information about the video tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard that will be shown before tomorrow night’s game:
YANKEES TO HONOR GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER III AND BOB SHEPPARD PRIOR TO FRIDAY’S GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM
The New York Yankees will hold a tribute to commemorate the lives and recognize the passings of former Principal Owner / Chairperson George M. Steinbrenner III and longtime Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard prior to their 7:05 p.m. game on Friday, July 16 vs. Tampa Bay.
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. for the pregame ceremony which will include a video tribute to “The Boss” and a special moment of silence honoring both of the Yankees icons. Further tributes to Mr. Steinbrenner and Mr. Sheppard will be revealed during Friday’s ceremony, and additional ceremonies will be held during Old-Timers’ Day events on Saturday, July 17.
United States Army Sergeant First Class MaryKay Messenger will sing the national anthem on Friday, and the West Point Color Guard will present the colors.
In addition, a wreath will be placed in front of Mr. Steinbrenner’s statue in the Yankee Stadium Gate 2 Executive Lobby as well as in front of Mr. Sheppard’s plaque in Monument Park.
The Voice of the Yankees laid to rest today • 07.15.10
Over the past two days, hundreds of people – including many wearing Yankees gear – have reportedly shown up at the wake for Bob Sheppard. Today, he will be laid to rest.
The funeral for Sheppard, who died Sunday at the age of 99, will be at 10:45 a.m. at St. Christopher’s Church in Baldwin, N.Y. When I spoke to Brian Cashman yesterday, he said he didn’t know the specifics of any tributes the Yankees would do for Sheppard (or George Steinbrenner) at tomorrow night’s game but said he expected there would, obviously, be something.
Like many writers who spent a lot of time around the team over this past decade or so, most of my interactions with Mr. Sheppard were when he buzzed past me on the way to the elevator right as a game ended. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories from others by now, but seeing him wait at the back of the press box as a would-be final out was at the plate was endearing; as soon as the last out was made, he’d tuck his book under his arm (he would read between announcing hitters) and then zoom towards the elevator so he could be downstairs, in the car and on the way home before the traffic snarled. Even when he was in his 90s you didn’t want to be in his way.
The few times we spoke – I remember interviewing him at least once – he was kind, warm, cordial and exactly as he sounded on the job. He was, quite simply, a class act. He will be missed.
Game 11: Yankees vs. Rangers • 04.17.10
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF
RHP A.J. Burnett
Career vs. Rangers
Julio Borbon CF
Michael Young 3B
Josh Hamilton LF
Vlad Guerrero DH
Nelson Cruz RF
Chris Davis 1B
Joaquin Arias 2B
Taylor Teagarden C
Elvis Andrus SS
RHP Scott Feldman (1-0, 2.57)
Career vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m./YES Network
UMPIRES: HP D.J. Reyburn, 1B Mike DiMuro, 2B Tim Welke, 3B Tim Timmons
WEATHER: Yesterday’s game was washed out after six innings. The Weather Channel says there’s a 10 percent chance of rain at the time of today’s first pitch, and that chance never gets higher than 20 percent all afternoon.
REACHING 200: Joe Girardi has 199 wins as the Yankees manager. One more gives him an even 200.
REACHING FIRST: Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano have a hit in each of the Yankees first 10 games, making them baseball’s first shortstop/second baseman combo of the modern era to get a hit in their team’s first nine or more games.
REMEMBERING THE VOICE: It was 59 years ago today that Bob Sheppard called his first game at Yankee Stadium. It was also Mickey Mantle’s first big league game.
UPDATE, 12:17: This is Brian Heyman pinch hitting for Chad today. Joe Girardi had his usual pregame meeting with the media and there wasn’t much in the way of news. He thinks Mark Teixeira is a little off mechanically at the plate, as his .083 average would indicate. But a slow start obviously isn’t a new thing for him. Girardi said Boone Logan can be used for situational matchups or an inning, and that he’s confident in the lefty reliever against lefties and righties. The manager is happy with A-Rod’s at-bats even though he has yet to hit a homer in his first 10 games, the first time that’s happened since 2001. And he has no plans to turn Francisco Cervelli into CC Sabathia’s personal catcher.
UPDATE, 2:00: Finally, a contribution from Teixeira. He began the season 0 for 17 and he just ended another 0-for-17 slide in the second with his bases-loaded, broken-bat RBI single that second baseman Joaquin Arias stopped on the outfield grass, wide of first. A-Rod popped to center to leave them loaded. So the Yankees are up 2-0 after two but have stranded five, three in scoring position.
UPDATE, 2:17: Quick hook by Ron Washington, hoping not to let this game out of hand. He pulled Scott Feldman with one out here in the third and runners on second and third, and the Yankees up 2-0.
UPDATE, 2:26: Well, that didn’t work out too well for Texas — 6-0 Yankees, heading for the fourth. Derek Jeter capped it with a two-run homer. The captain now has hit three long balls already. By the way, Jorge Posada’s single that ignited the four-run rally was his 1,500th hit, making him the 19th Yankee to reach that mark and only the fourth whose primary position is catcher (Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey and Thurman Munson are the others).
UPDATE, 2:39: There goes another milestone. A-Rod just hit No. 584, passing Mark McGwire for sole possession of eighth place on the all-time homer list. It snapped his 41 at-bat homerless streak to start the season, his longest since he went the first 48 at-bats of 1995 without one. 7-0 Yankees after four. A.J. Burnett has allowed just one infield hit.
UPDATE, 4:11: Yankees win, 7-3. Joba finished with a 1-2-3 ninth. The Yankees are now 4 for 4 in taking series with one to go in this one. Burnett allowed no runs, six hits and two walks while fanning seven over seven to move to 2-0. The only negative for the Yankees was Alfredo Aceves serving up a three-run homer. The team is 8-3 with three straight victories.
UPDATE, 7:56: Can you guess when the Yankees last won their first four series in a season? We’ll get back to that.
Joe Girardi couldn’t be happier with how his team is playing. The only one who really hasn’t joined in yet is Mark Teixeira, but he will. His broken-bat RBI single was his only hit in four at-bats, so his average is now up to .100, at 4 for 40. There really isn’t much to complain about otherwise. This team is able to win with home runs and small ball. The Yankees have put up 10 infield hits the last two days. This is their best 11-game start since they were 9-2 in 2003.
“I don’t necessarily always remember how you start,” Girardi said at his postgame press conference. “You remember how you finish, and that’s the important thing. But it’s nice to win four series, and we have a chance to sweep the series tomorrow.”
There was much postgame talk about Brett Gardner beating out three infield hits. A-Rod said he’d never seen that before. Texas manager Ron Washington said the Yankees now have their own version of Ichiro. A little hyperbole. But Gardner did have a major impact on the first two rallies with his speed. “I’d like to be hitting line drives, but definitely for me, it’s more positive when I put it on the ground,” Gardner said.
Rodriguez said he had been getting teased by teammates over his wait for homer No. 1. “It’s good to get the first one out of the way for him,” Girardi said. A-Rod’s average is up to .279 after a 2-for-4 day.
The answer to when was the last time the Yankees won their first four series: That would be 1926 when they took their first five.