Yankees legend John Sterling announces retirement in abrupt fashion

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

UPDATE: Sterling has announced his retirement, effective immediately.

John Sterling has been the voice of the New York Yankees for 36 years. The 85-year-old is reportedly nearing the end of his days in the broadcast booth, however, after a recent development was reported Monday. Sadly, this doesn't come as a surprise to fans.

Sterling's potential retirement has been on the table for what's felt like a few years now, and Andrew Marchand of The Athletic has revealed that time could be coming as early as Friday.

Per Marchand, Sterling is "expected to hold a press conference Friday with retirement a strong possibility." Health concerns appear to be the root of the abrupt turnaround here. Sterling's next set to call Friday's Yankees-Rays matchup in the Bronx with the team on the road in Toronto this week.

Marchand added that the Yankees and WFAN have left it up to Sterling to make the decision, and the 85-year-old is apparently going to bide his time, as he's been steadfast about remaining in the booth despite past speculation.

However, Sterling has cut down on the amount of road games he's called in recent years, with the 2020 pandemic-shortened season throwing a wrench into the team's future broadcasting plan as well.

Yankees legend John Sterling could reportedly announce retirement due to health

Additionally, Sterling's hinted at possibly stepping down relatively soon. He told Brendan Kuty of The Athletic last week that he's "obviously near the end."

It's not like he was saying something nobody knew, but when he said it "depends on how I'm doing and how I feel," it raised some eyebrows because nobody suspected there to be an issue with his health. He dealt with a non-serious illness last season that kept him off the broadcast for about two weeks, but that was it. He even remained on the call after getting hit in the head with a foul ball off the bat of Justin Turner.

Nonetheless, there's already been an apparent succession plan in motion, with Sterling's road replacements making appearances over the last three seasons.

Justin Shackil is believed to be the long-term successor and 24-year-old Emmanuel Berbari is said to be part of the future plan. Ryan Ruocco has filled in many times over the years to fans' delight. It's unclear how the duties will be split if Sterling's retirement ends up being "immediate."

If this is the end of the road for Sterling, he will be greatly missed for his one-of-a-kind home run calls, soothing voice, and inimitable energy that's kept fans awake during nighttime drives while listening to the Bombers. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.