Bob Sheppard passes away at 99

Joba and the unresolved 8th
Sherman: Pondering Jeter's second half

Bob Reads a Poem

Bob Sheppard made his final Yankee Stadium appearance during the closing ceremonies for the old stadium in September 2008. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

Updated by Ben (11:50 a.m.): Yankees public address announcer for over 50 years, Bob Sheppard, has passed away at his home in Baldwin, NY, the Associated Press reported this morning. Dubbed “The Voice of God” by Reggie Jackson, Sheppard annouced over 4,500 games, including 22 World Series. Long known for his introductions to the stadium (“Good Evening…ladies and gentlemen…and welcome to Yankee Stadium”), the national anthem and Yankee captain Derek Jeter, Sheppard would have been 100 this October. He’s been battling illness since 2008 and officially announced his retirement in November. In addition to his storied career as the Yankees’ public address announcer, Sheppard was a noted poet and spent many years announcer New York Giants’ games at the Meadowlands.

“The Yankees and Bob Sheppard were a marriage made in heaven,” Paul Sheppard, the PA announcer’s 71 year old son said to The Times’ Richard Goldstein. “I know St. Peter will now recruit him. If you’re lucky enough to go to heaven, you’ll be greeted by a voice, saying, ‘Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to heaven!’ ”

For many Yankee fans of a certain age, Sheppard was the only constant at Yankee Stadium. Through thick and thin, through ownership groups, last place finishes and World Series championships, Sheppard was always there. He began his Bronx career in 1951 when Joe DiMaggio still patrolled center field and a young kid from Oklahoma named Mickey Mantle made his Major League debut. He worked nearly every game until September of 2007 when he was sidelined with a bout bronchial infection that left his seriously weakened.

Sheppard never returned to Yankee Stadium after 2007, but his presence has been felt at Yankee Stadium, new and old. He appeared in a video greeting during the old stadium’s last hurrah in September of 2008, and Derek Jeter still comes to bat to a pre-recorded Sheppard announcement of his “Numbah 2, Derek Jetah.” He never made it to the new Yankee Stadium.

In 2000, the Yankees honored Sheppard with his own day at the stadium and his own plaque in Monument Park. Famed newscaster Walter Cronkite read the inscription: “The voice of Yankee Stadium. For half a century, he has welcomed generations of fans with his trademark greeting, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Yankee Stadium.'”

Sheppard also called New York Giants games from 1956 through 2006 and lent his voice to the basketball and football teams at St. John’s University, where he was a speech professor, as well. He passed away at 99, just three months shy of the century mark, and will forever be remembered as the Voice of the Yankees.

For more on Sheppard, be sure to read Marty Noble’s piece on MLB.com. Click through to see a video tribute to the great announcer from Bob Sheppard Day in 2000.

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Joba and the unresolved 8th
Sherman: Pondering Jeter's second half
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

    “Now entering Heaven, the Voice, Bob Sheppard”

    • http://fmylife.com Bryan (Formerly JobaJr)

      +1.

  • Ivan

    Bob Sheppard should anounce himself as walks through the gates of heaven.

    The guy will surely miss in the yankee family.

    R.I.P. Bob Sheppard.

    • http://www.yfsf.org AndrewYF

      Actually, he’s going to be heaven’s new official celestial sports announcer.

      I hear they have bocce up there.

  • Rosco

    Is Jeter still using his voice when he gets introduced?

    • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

      I’m sure he will, but that’s beyond the point..

      • Pat D

        Not really. When he’s alive but not able to be there, it’s understandable for Jeter to want his voice announcing him.

        But now that he has passed on, if Jeter continues to use his voice, it’s a tad creepy.

        • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

          I know, but this post is about Sheppard passing away. To just asked “Is Jeter still using his voice when he gets introduced?” is a bit disrespectful in my opinion.

          He just died, those things are less important right now.

        • Mike HC

          If Jeter does use the clip for the rest of his Yankee career, I’m sure they would have gotten permission from Bob Sheppard. He asked to use the clip years ago.

  • Doug

    You will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

    Rest In Peace…..

  • Craig

    That guy had the greatest voice ever, he will be missed.

    Rest In Peace Bob Sheppard.

  • Sean A

    Rest in Peace Mr Sheppard A class act

  • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

    So now heaven has the best sports announcer of all-time.

    Rest In Peace Bob Sheppard.

  • Baseball Guy

    St. Peter might say as he walks to the gates,

    “Well, they’ll miss you on Earth, but we’ve been waiting a long time for this.

    You passed the audition down there and now we have a bigger job for you.

    As people enter Heaven, we’ll need you to announce their names.”

    • Ubu

      ICVM!!

      God Bless you Mr. Sheppard. The Universe won’t be the same without you. RIP,The Voice of the Stadium 4ever!!

  • Baseball Guy

    Yankee Stadium hasn’t been the same since he left.

    Bob Sheppard will be greatly missed. GREATLY.

  • Mark from Chicago

    All the best to the Sheppard family, Bob you will be sorely missed! R.I.P.

  • bonestock94

    An integral part of a proper Yankees home game in the old stadium.

  • Pat D

    My cousin does a terrific impression of Bob Sheppard. Just won’t ever be the same to hear it after today.

    Condolences to his family.

    You will be missed, Bob.

  • Mike HC

    HIs voice over the PA system was truly one of the things that made Yankee stadium so unique and great. It was such an addicting voice you couldn’t help but have it stuck to your in head and imitating him calling hitters to the plate throughout the day. It was never the same when it was not his voice. He will be sorely missed by all Yankee fans.

  • Count Zero

    My first trip to the Stadium was in 1965. My latest trip was May 28th against Cleveland. That voice was a constant for 40 years of ballgames for me. It has not been and will never be the same.

    Very sad to hear the news this morning. May he go on to even bigger and better things somewhere.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    Very, very sad. RIP.

  • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

    He and Howard Cossell will make a hell of a broadcasting duo for Heaven’s yankee team

    • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

      RIP Mr. Sheppard

    • Mike HC

      They also have a ridiculously stacked team.

      Do you think fans complain even in heaven about the unfair advantage the Yankees heaven team has?

      • Scooter

        We’ve been incredibly blessed as Yankee fans. Talk about a stacked team:
        Bob Sheppard doing PA

        And in the booth up there:
        Mel Allen
        Red Barber
        Phil Rizzuto
        Frank Messer
        Bobby Murcer

  • Accent Shallow

    Requiescecat in pace

  • DCBX

    I was still hoping that he would come back all through last season.

    May he rest in peace. The Yankees, the city of New York, and the world lost a great voice today.

  • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

    RIP Mr. Sheppard. New York will never sound the same again.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Question- Are:

    Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth

    and

    Now batting for the Yankees, the shortstop, No. 2, Derek Jeter, No. 2.”

    the most iconic and recognizable soundbytes in baseball history? I think they are.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      “The Giants win the pennant!” is above Jeter, IMO.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Okay, I can agree with that.

        • Pat D

          I might put “I don’t believe what I just saw!” above Jeter’s intro, too.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Meh.

  • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

    Very sad. When he meets God I hope he says “People always say we sound alike.”

    • http://deleted Richard Deegan

      “Naw, Pete… Now that he’s here, I think he sounds better than Me.”

  • Joey

    Rest in peace Mr. Sheppard, you have been and always will be the greatest voice, and will be truly missed

  • Laura

    I knew it would happen one day…but I just wasn’t prepared to see this today.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      :(

      +1

  • Frigidevil

    Rest in Peace Mr. Sheppard, I still and always will miss your voice at the stadium.

  • phughesisgod

    Not going to lie, I teared up watching that video tribute. He is truly the voice of god. A true legend, and provided some of the most iconic words in Yankees history. Cooperstown needs to enshrine 2 more Yankees, both of which are extremely overdue, and must happen soon. Bob Sheppard and George M. Steinbrenner III must be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, NOW!

    Rest in Peace to the voice of Yankee Stadium, Bob Sheppard.

  • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

    Instead of mourning his passing let’s take a moment to celebrate his life and all he’s done for the organization, us as fans, and sports in general.

    I’ll never forget my first trip to Yankee Stadium and hearing that silky-smooth voice welcome me to the Mecca Of Baseball. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had as a sports fan and one of my favorite memories…and that was before the game even started.

    The Bronx will never be the same again.

    It’s great that the Voice of God is up in heaven conversing with God. To be a fly on the wall in that conversation.

    RIP Robert Leo Sheppard, gone but never forgotten.

  • Yankeefan91 Arod fan

    R.I.P Bob Sheppard wow this is a very sad day in Yankeeland. My favorite name that Bob Sheppard announced was Shigetoshi Hasegawa it sounded so cool.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      Yes, definitely.

  • Mike Nitabach

    I read in one of the pieces on Sheppard (I forget which one) that he once accidentally announced “Welcome to Yankee Stadium” at the beginning of a Giants game.

  • thurdonpaul

    I was fortunate enough to have been at Bob Sheppard day, I was always very thankful to have been there that day. I have a very heavy heart today. RIP Mr. Sheppard

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    “If you’re lucky enough to go to heaven, you’ll be greeted by a voice, saying, ‘Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to heaven!’ ”

    That might have made me cry a little bit.

  • A friend

    Not just a voice. I have met Bob Sheppard many times. His daughter is a good friend. Mr. Sheppard was a gentleman — witty — easy to be with. He had a graciousness that is missing in our life these days. He truly has left his mark on the world he moved in.

  • Meat Loaf

    I’m watching Anger Management tonight in his honor.

  • Tom Merritt

    What a giant he was !!! I’ve from the Eastern Shore of Virginia and a third generation Yankee fan. My father used to take me to Yankee stadium to see the Yankees every year and I still can clearly remember Mr. Sheppard’s classic voice announcing my heros. He was truly one of a kind and there will never be another one like him.

  • The Big City of Dreams

    R.I.P. Bob Sheppard

  • Andrew518

    As someone who had the privlidge of hearing Bob’s voice over the stadium adress for nearly twenty years I consider myself quite lucky. Ultimately I’ll probably attend more games with his succesors but it will never be the same. To me, and I think anybody who has experienced him, the stadium will never seem quite right without him. Only his voice was as grandly fitting to such a grand stadium.

    Thanks for everything Bob.

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