Bob Sheppard was a Major League Baseball announcer for the New York Yankees from 1951-2007. Hall of Famer and former Yankee Reggie Jackson once said his words sound like “the voice of God” as they reverberate through the ballpark.
Yankees fans and people around the world have heard his voice for over half a century (56 years).
Over the last 56 years, Sheppard witnessed the Yankees capture 22 American League pennants and 13 World Series championships. To me, he has been one of the luckiest men to ever live.
Sheppard was known for his distinctive announcing style, which has become a part of Yankee Stadium's lore. He began each game by saying, "Good evening... ladies and gentlemen... and welcome... to Yankee Stadium," employing a peculiar but effective cadence he developed to allow the echo of his words to reverberate around the cavernous original Yankees ballpark.
He signaled in-game announcements with, "Your attention please, ladies and gentlemen." Before a player's first at-bat, Sheppard announced his position, uniform number, name, and number again.
The first player Sheppard ever announced was Joe DiMaggio.
Sheppard would go on to repeat names like; Howard, Berra, Mantle, Maris, Ford, Skowron, Munson, Hunter, Jackson, Gossage, Winfield, Mattingly, Henderson, Boggs, O’Neill, Pettitte, Williams, Rivera, Jeter, Clemens, Sheffield, and Rodriguez.
Sheppard frequently cited Mickey Mantle as one of his favorite names to announce. Sheppard once said, "Mickey Mantle says 'Every time Bob Sheppard introduced me at Yankee Stadium, I got shivers up my spine.' And I said to him, 'So did I.'"
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 Yankees games in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Merrill proceeded to sing “O, Canada” out of respect to the visiting Jays.
Many Yankees fans booed the Canadian National Anthem. Before the next game, Sheppard reminded fans of how Canada was 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.
Sheppard has been awarded with both World Series Championship rings and NFL Super Bowl Championship rings in honor of his role with the Yankees and the New York (football) Giants. The only other person to share this honor is the late Bill King, the long-time radio play-by-play voice of the Oakland Raiders and Oakland Athletics.
Sheppard was honored by having his microphone encased in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 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."
FOR HALF A CENTURY, HE HAS WELCOMED GENERATIONS OF FANS WITH HIS TRADEMARK GREETING, “ LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO YANKEE STADIUM.” HIS CLEAR CONCISE AND CORRECT VOCAL STYLE HAS ANNOUNCED THE NAMES OF HUNDREDS OF PLAYERS – BOTH UNFAMILIAR AND LEGENDARY – WITH EQUAL DIVINE REVERENCE, MAKING HIM AS SYNONYMOUS WITH YANKEE STADIUM AS ITS COPPER FAÇADE AND MONUMENT PARK.
Click on this link to watch a tribute to Bob Sheppard -