Monday, July 12, 2010

Even in death, Sheppard's voice will last forever


I've been so sad about the passing of Bob Sheppard, the legendary announcer of the New York Yankees, that I'm just now writing about his death.

Sheppard was 99 years old so his death was not unexpected, but that doesn't make it any less painful for the Yankees Universe. But we've gotten to hear a number of great Sheppard stories from the people who knew him best, from those who were most touched by their interactions with the nicest guy in the Yankees family.

Joe Girardi reminisced about talking to Sheppard for the first time. "It was amazing when you heard his voice in person because it was always from up above and then when he would come down and talk to you, it was a thrill," he said. "He is going to be dearly missed. He was a wonderful man."

Sheppard "means as much to this organization as any player," said Yankee Captain Derek Jeter. "He was part of the whole Yankee Stadium experience. I grew up listening to him and it's a thrill for any player to be introduced by him."

A few years ago when Sheppard's health began failing, other people stepped in to take over the public address duties at Yankee Stadium. But being introduced by someone other than the "Voice of God" never sounded right to Jeter, who asked Sheppard to record his introduction so the shortstop would never have to be introduced by anyone else.

"As long as I'm playing, Bob Sheppard will always announce me," Jeter said.

So even in death, Sheppard will be a presence at Yankee Stadium, which is great for us and future generations of Yankee fans.

Rest in peace, Bob Sheppard! We miss you already.

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