- Bob Sheppard
:"This article is about the baseball announcer. For the jazz saxophonist, see
Bob Sheppard (musician).Infobox Person
image_size = 150px
name = Bob Sheppard
birth_date = birth date and age|1910|10|12
Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, United States
occupation = Announcer
Robert Leo Sheppard, (born
October 12, 1910) has been the public address announcerfor the New York Yankeesof Major League Baseballsince 1951, and was also the public address announcer for the New York Giantsof the National Football Leaguefrom 1956 to 2006. Since joining the Yankees, he has announced over 4,500 Major League Baseball games, and has worked 22 World Series. The first Yankee lineup Sheppard announced contained 5 future Hall of Famers: Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Mize, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto. The Yankees played the Boston Red Soxthat day, so Sheppard also introduced Ted Williamsand Lou Boudreau, for a total of seven future Hall of Famers. During Bob Sheppard's 50-plus year reign as the Yankees' public address announcer, the Yankees have captured 22 American League pennantsand 13 World Series championships.
Sheppard was born in Richmond Hill, a section of the Borough of Queens,
New York City. A U.S. Naval Officer in World War II, Lieutenant Robert Sheppard commanded shipboard gunnery crews in the United States Pacific Fleet (1942-1945).
Throughout his career, Sheppard has kept his age a secret, once ending an interview when asked the question twice. An ex-Yankees official, however, recently confirmed Sheppard's birthdate [ [http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-yankees-sheppardsreturn&prov=ap&type=lgns Yahoo! Sports - Sports News, Scores, Rumors, Fantasy Games, and more ] ] and another article has Sheppard graduated from St. John's Preparatory School in
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklynin 1928, consistent with this birthdate. [ The 1920 United States Census shows Robert Sheppard, age 9 on February 2, 1920 living as the son of Charles Sheppard and Eileen Sheppard. Charles' age was noted as 39 and Eileen's age was noted as 36. Charles' occupation was given as Plumber Inspector for the Building Department. Two other sons were living in the same household: Charles, age 13 and John, age 12. The family resided at 10463 110th Street, Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. The 1930 United States census recorded on April 2, 1930 shows Robert L. Sheppard, age 19, living with Charles L., age 50 rec and Eileen, age 41,and brothers Charles W., age 23 and John P. age 22. The family resided at 10705 110th Street, Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. [http://www.qgazette.com/news/2003/1105/Community_Calendar/002.html St. John’s Prep Honors Sports Announcer ] ] He graduated from Saint John's University in 1932 where he was President of his senior class and quarterbackfor the football squad. He earned his Master's degreefrom Columbia Universityin 1933. IMDB.com lists his birthday as October 12, 1910. [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0791924/ Bob Sheppard (I) ] ]
Sheppard was originally a speech teacher in both the
New York Cityschool district and his alma mater, St. John's University, New York in Jamaica, Queens. Sheppard would continue to serve St. John's as a PA announcer for sporting events, including men's basketball and varsity football, into the 1990s.
Sheppard maintains that his work as a Professor of Speech is far more important than his work as an announcer. He said that as an announcer, "All I have to recommend is longevity." He is in the St. John's University Sports Hall of Fame as an athlete. He earned seven varsity letters from 1928 to 1932, three in baseball as the starting first baseman, and four in football as the starting quarterback.
Currently resides in Baldwin, New York.
Public address announcing
Sheppard first worked as a public address announcer for football games at St. John's. He moved on to the Brooklyn Dodgers of the
All-America Football Conference. His work was remembered by the Yankee front office, and he debuted as Yankee PA announcer on April 17, 1951, with the Yankees' home opener, a win over the Boston Red Sox. In 1956, when the New York Giantsfootball team moved into Yankee Stadium, he began announcing their games as well, staying with them for their move into Giants Stadiumin New Jersey's Meadowlands Sports Complex.
Sheppard is known for his distinctive announcing style, which has become a part of Yankee Stadium's lore. He begins by saying, "Good afternoon (or Good evening)... ladies and gentlemen... and welcome... to Yankee Stadium." He has signalled in-game announcements for the Yankees and Giants by saying, "Your attention please, ladies and gentlemen."
He nearly always presents the performance of "
The Star-Spangled Banner" and " O, Canada," by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen... would you please rise... And now... to honor America... please join... (name of performer)... as he (or she, or they) sing(s)... our national anthem"... (and) O, Canada." In a similar manner, Sheppard begins the seventh inning stretchby saying, "Ladies and gentlemen... would you please rise... And now... please offer... a moment of silent prayer... for the service men and women... who are stationed around the globe... and especially remember... those who have lost their lives... defending our freedom...and our way of life." Then he introduces the performance of " God Bless America" (with each word enunciated), usually the 1938 recording of Kate Smith, but sometimes a live performance.
Before a player's first at-bat of the game, Sheppard announces his uniform number, his name, his position, and his number again. Example: "Number 2... Derek... Jeter... Shortstop... Number 2." For each following at-bat, Sheppard announces the position and name: "The third baseman... Alex... Rodriguez," with the number being used for a pinch hitter.
On several occasions, particularly in the 1970s, as can be heard in rebroadcasts of championship games from that era shown on networks like
ESPN Classicand the YES Network, Sheppard has had to remind fans not to go onto the field of play, or to throw things on the field, or else they will be subject to arrest and removal from the stadium. Such announcements have been less necessary in the years since, as cities have provided increased police protection for their stadiums.
During the 1985 season, the Yankees were in a tight race for the American League Eastern Division title with the
Toronto Blue Jays. Before the first game of a key four-game series with the Jays that September, Sheppard introduced opera singer Robert Merrill, who often sang the National Anthem at Yankee games in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, who proceeded to sing "O, Canada" out of respect to the visiting Jays. Many Yankee fans booed the Canadian National Anthem. Before the next game, Sheppard reminded fans of how Canadawas America's ally in two world wars, a partner in NATO, and had helped get some of the American hostages out of Iran, and that their anthem should be respected and not booed. His reprimand was not heeded, and the fans booed the anthem again. The Yankees won the first game of that series but dropped the next three and lost the Division title.
Sheppard is also a poet of note, and read a poem he wrote in memory of Yankee catcher
Thurman Munsonbefore the team's first game after Munson's death, on August 3, 1979. Another poem served as a tribute to Roger Maris' 61st home run in 1961. He has also read aloud, so that fans far away from the ceremony can hear, the inscriptions on the plaques the Yankees dedicate for their Monument Park, one of which now honors him.
Sheppard's voice can be heard on three episodes of "
*The Letter: Sheppard delivers the opening welcome, while Kramer, George and Elaine sit in team owner
George Steinbrenner's box seats, but Elaine, from Towson, Maryland, wears the cap of her hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles, that game's opponents, and is asked to remove it, and upon refusing, is removed.
*The Masseuse: Announcing a Giants game at
Giants Stadium, he pages Elaine's current boyfriend, who has the same name as a recently-arrested serial killer: "Will Joel Rifkinplease report to the stadium office?"
*The Chaperone: He announces that the Miss America contestants in
Yankee Stadiumwill be competing in the pageant.
St. John's University annually awards the Sheppard Trophy to the most outstanding student-athlete as one of their highest awards.
Sheppard has been awarded both
World SeriesChampionship rings, and NFL Super BowlChampionship ring honors in his role with the Yankees and the football Giants. The only other person to share this honor was the late Bill King, the long-time radio play-by-play voice of the Oakland Raidersand Oakland Athletics.
Sheppard has been honored by having his
microphoneencased in the Baseball Hall of Famein Cooperstown, New York. On May 7, 2000, in celebration of his 50th season as the Yankees' PA announcer, the team dedicated a plaque in his honor, to be placed in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. The plaque calls him "The Voice of Yankee Stadium." Former CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkiteserved as the public-address announcer during the ceremony.
Reggie Jacksononce dubbed him "the Voice of God."
heppard's sixth decade on the job
In 2002, Sheppard's voice appeared in on air promos for the Yankee's new cable channel, the
YES Network. Those promos featuring his voice remain in use today. His appearances in major motion pictures include "Anger Management", " 61*", " The Scout" and " The Bronx Is Burning".
Sheppard retired as the voice of the Giants following the end of the 2005 Giants season. Sheppard's final regular season game was the Giants' final home game of the 2005 season, a win versus the
Kansas City Chiefson December 17, 2005. His final playoff game was the Giants' loss against the Carolina Pantherson January 8, 2006. He worked for 50 years on a handshake agreement (no written contract) with Giants owner Wellington Maraand was replaced by long-term back-up Jim Hall for the 2006 season.
April 11, 2006, Sheppard missed his first Yankees home opener since April 17, 1951. He threw out his hip at his Long Island home the day before and was unable to attend the game; Jim Hall filled in for him on the team's opening homestand, with the assistance of Sheppard's youngest son, Christopher. Sheppard returned to the microphone on the next Yankee homestand, Friday, April 21. [ [http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-yankees-sheppardsreturn&prov=ap&type=lgns Yahoo! Sports - Sports News, Scores, Rumors, Fantasy Games, and more ] ] In "Sports Illustrated's" mention of that incident, they reported that Derek Jetersaid if he had his way, they would make a recording of Sheppard's voice announcing his name, for any future occasion where Sheppard was unable to do so himself. This has in fact come true. A recording has been made and will be used for the rest of Jeter's career.
Due to a bronchial infection, Bob Sheppard did not announce the 2007 ALDS games at Yankee Stadium. Jim Hall subbed in for the two home games in which the Yankees hosted. [ [http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=txyankeessheppard&prov=st&type=lgns Longtime Yankees PA announcer Sheppard will miss ALDS - MLB - Yahoo! Sports ] ] However, a recording of Sheppard was in fact used for Jeter's at-bats. [ [http://www.bergenrecord.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxMTMmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcyMDUyNDQmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2 "Damon's blast saves Torre's job for another day," Bergen Record, October 8, 2007] ]
Sheppard's health did not permit him to return to the Yankee Stadium announcing booth for the entire 2008 season, which was the last season to be played at the original Yankee Stadium. On March 26, Sheppard announced his intention to return at some point during the season. "I don't know when it will be, but it will be," he said, according to the New York Daily News. Jim Hall filled in for Sheppard as usual, with the exception of granting Derek Jeter's wish to have Sheppard's recording played for Jeter's at-bats.
Sheppard was widely expected to return to the booth for the 2008 All-Star Game, which was to be played at Yankee Stadium, but on July 9, he announced his health would not permit him to perform his duties at that game. [ [http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2008/07/bob_sheppard_not_able_to_be_at.html Bob Sheppard not able to be at All-Star Game, nj.com, July 9, 2008] ]
In early September, Sheppard announced his intention to be at the mic for the final game at Yankee Stadium on September 21. [ [http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printedition/friday/news/ny-spshep055830014sep05,0,7128335.story Bob Sheppard aims to be at Yankees' finale, newsday.com, September 5, 2008] ] However, the "
New York Times" reported on September 19 that Sheppard has opted not to attend, saying, "I don't have my best stuff." [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/sports/baseball/20vecsey.html?hp The Man Will Be Absent, but His Voice Carries, September 19, 2008] Sheppard did record the announcement of the entire starting line-up, presumably from his home, that was played over the P.A. prior to the start of the final game. Sheppard's pre-recorded introductions of Jeter were played as well.
On September 20, Yankee Stadium played a video of Sheppard pulling a lever changing the number of home games remaining from 2 to 1.
Sheppard notes that he is under contract to announce the first game in the new Yankee Stadium in the 2009 season.
Notes and references
Voice of the Yankees is sidelined for All-Star game - Star Ledger 7/9/2008.
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