Bob Sheppard makes his final Yankee Stadium appearance. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)
While nothing but a formality at this point, Bob Sheppard has officially retired. In a discussion with MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Sheppard said that, at age 99, he won’t be returning as the Yankees’ public address announcer.
“I have no plans of coming back,” Sheppard said yesterday. “Time has passed me by, I think. I had a good run for it. I enjoyed doing what I did. I don’t think, at my age, I’m going to suddenly regain the stamina that is really needed if you do the job and do it well.”
The nonagenarian made his Yankee Stadium debut on April 17, 1951. He served as the PA announcer for around 4500 games, and his career spanned from Mickey Mantle to Reggie Jackson to Don Mattingly to Derek Jeter and everyone in between. He introduced the Yankees for 121 consecutive postseason games before coming down with a very serious bout of pneumonia in September 2007.
In talking with Hoch, Sheppard explained how, while he’s regained his health, the whole process of traveling to and from the stadium requires more stamina than he has right now. “It’s not just the two hours or three hours of baseball,” Sheppard said. “It’s the trip, the preparation, the trip home, and a long, long day. I think at my age, it’s time to accept the fact that I had a great run. A great run. And I only made a few mistakes along the way.”
Sheppard says his weight fell nearly 40 pounds to 103 during his illness, and he plans to make a trip to see the stadium in 2010. Sheppard will live on in Derek Jeter’s at-bats and in Yankee lore. We’ll miss him in the Bronx and wish the Voice of God nothing but the best.