Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. While The Onion will always have the last word (NSFW) on the moon landing, baseball had its place in this historic moment.
As Wezen-ball detailed today, baseball teams announced the moon-landing as the games went on. Larry excerpts from this New York Times article about the Yankee reaction to the moon walk. Bob Sheppard, of course, played a key role:
“Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please,” came the voice of Bob Shepard, the public address announcer. The umpires, according to prior arrangements, waved their arms and stopped play.
Announcement Cut Short
‘You will be happy to know,’ Shepard continued, ‘that the Apollo 11 has landed safely…’
And a tremendous cheer drowned the words ‘on the moon.’
The cheering continued for about 45 seconds. On the scoreboard, the message section read ‘They’re on the moon.’ People stood. They waved the bats back and forth. Shepard kept talking, but his words could not be made out through the din.
On the field, the players seemed confused, or impatient. Most did not turn toward the scoreboard. Finally, the announcer could be understood and he asked the crowd for a moment of silent prayer for the safe return of the astronauts.
The crowd stilled. After a few seconds of silence, a recording of ‘America the Beautiful,’ sung by a chorus, blared through the loudspeakers. At the end of the song, another mighty cheer arose, just like the one that usually greets the completion of the National Anthem before a game.
The game resumed at 4:21 pm. McMullen bounced into an out at the plate, and exactly one hour later the Yankees scored the winning run.
The Yankees of 1969 weren’t very good. They finished 80-81, good for fifth place 28.5 games behind the Orioles. But on July 20, 1969, those 32,933 fans who saw the Yanks win in 11 innings heard history as it should only be delivered: straight from the voice of Bob Sheppard himself.