Friday, November 27, 2009

The End of An Era

photo courtesy of NY Daily News

It's been unofficial for a couple of years now. Yesterday it became official. Bob Sheppard, the "Voice of God" officially retired as the Yankees P.A. announcer.

It was just a matter of time. Mr. Sheppard, 99 years old, had never fully recovered from upper respiratory issues that sidelined him over the past two seasons. And though he never used the word retired in his official statement, Mr. Sheppard did say,
"But," he acknowledged yesterday, "I don’t intend at this moment to see myself back as a public address announcer at Yankee Stadium, feeling the way I do now."

Reached at his Baldwin home, Sheppard hedged, but only slightly, saying, "It wasn’t a resignation. It wasn’t quitting. It wasn’t throwing in the glove."

So he isn’t ruling out a future return? Sheppard laughed.

"Let me start from the bottom: I am now 99 years old," he said. "I don ’t think a man 99 years old goes back to work after two years of separation."

All of us Yankees fans have missed the impeccable speech, the succinct pronunciation of each name, and the low-key manner in which Mr. Sheppard delivered his announcements. Listening to an over the top presentation like the one delivered by Detroit Pistons' P.A. man John Mason makes you appreciate Mr. Sheppard even more.

We hope one day to hear the "Voice of God" echo throughout the new Yankee Stadium, but if not, we will always treasure the memories.

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