Believe it or not some things in life are more important than a baseball game. There are moments when wins, ERAs, runs, batting averages and blown saves don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes we forget how little nine innings of a silly game really matter compared to the bigger issues we face each day.
Unfortunately, today is one of those days. The world lost a great man on Sunday morning as Bob Sheppard, the longtime voice of Yankee and Giants Stadiums, passed away at his home on Long Island. He was 99.
So instead of harping on Joba Chamberlain’s epic bed-shit Saturday night, I’m going to take the time to remember one of the great men in the history of sports.
Love or hate the Yankees there is no denying that Bob Sheppard was a class act and a man among boys. He handled himself with dignity and treated everyone he met with respect. Gene Monahan, the Yankees trainer, referred to him as “the most polite man I’ve ever met.”
Nicknamed the Voice of God by Reggie Jackson, Robert Leo Sheppard was a staple at the old stadium for over 5o years and was around for a ton of memories. From the final days of Joe D (1951) through 2007, it wasn’t a Yankee game until you heard that silky-smooth voice proclaim “Good afternoon/evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Yankee Stadium.” The man called over 4,500 games, including 22 World Series, and never took anything for granted.
A public-address announcer should be clear, concise, correct. He should not be colorful, cute or comic.
Bob Sheppard: October 12, 1910 – July 11, 2010. The Voice of God is up in heaven right now conversing with God.
Here are some quotes on Bob Sheppard:
I don’t go to work. I go to a game.
He was obviously a legend; a tradition with the Yankees. When you think of the Yankees, you think of him announcing…When you think about the Yankees and the old stadium, there’s no doubt you think about him.
He’s as much a part of the organization as any player. Players change year in and year out, but he was the one constant.
God, as Bob arrives at the Pearly Gates:
It’s a pleasure to meet you. People say we sound alike, but I think you have much better pipes.
OK, I made that last one up. But it could happen.