Bob Sheppard, The Voice of God: 1910-2010

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that longtime Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard passed away this morning at his home in New York.  He was 99.

No matter your team affiliation, it’s easy to recognize greatness.  And Sheppard was great, in every sense of the word.  A great person, a great personality, and, boy, what a voice.  As Peter Gammons notes, Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski once said:

“You’re not in the big leagues until Bob Sheppard announces your name.”

Sheppard officially retired from his post as the Yanks’ PA announcer in 2007, but his voice still resonates through the new Yankee Stadium and on the YES Network’s broadcasts.  In fact, shortstop Derek Jeter is still introduced by a voice recording of Sheppard to this day.  Sheppard took part in over 4,500 major league games in his 56-year career and Yankees legend Reggie Jackson famously dubbed him “The Voice of God.”

Sheppard will forever remain a part of the Yankees’ history and steps have been taken to maintain his legend far into the future.  This tribute video, run on “Bob Sheppard Day” in May of 2000, basically sums up the way he was embraced by athletes, managers and fans alike: