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Bob Sheppard Misses First Yankee Home Opener in Half-Century

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Yankee Stadium."

It's really not quite a Yankee home game without Bob Sheppard. The long time "public address voice of the Yankees" threw out his hip at his Long Island home making him miss his first Yankee home opener since 1950.

But he promises he will be back.

"I am very disappointed," said Sheppard who won't give his age and is thought to be in his 90s. "I am optimistic that I will return to the stadium for the next homestand."

It has been said: "Every kid growing up has dreamed of lining up at Yankee Stadium and having Bob Sheppard announce his name." The New York Yankees public address announcer has announced many names working more than 4,000 games.
It began for Sheppard on April 17, 1951, Opening Day. The lineup that day was:

Jackie Jensen lf
Phil Rizzuto ss
Mickey Mantle rf
Joe DiMaggio cf
Yogi Berra c
Johnny Mize 1b
Billy Johnson 3b
Jerry Coleman 2b
Vic Raschi p  

Favorite Yankee moments for the former St. John's quarterback and first baseman who works in the sound-proofed little glass both include: Larsen's Perfect Game, Maris hitting 61 home runs, Reggie's three home runs against the Dodgers and Mantle's shot almost over the roof.

Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle make Sheppard's all time favorite list. "DiMaggio's name was symbolic of the early Yankees," Sheppard said, "and "Mickey Mantle has a nice ring to it because the two 'Ms' make it alliterative. "I just loved announcing his name. And one day, shortly before he died, we were both being interviewed on a television program. All of a sudden, he turned to me and said - right there on the air - that every time he heard me announce his name, he got goose bumps. And I felt the same way about announcing him."

Hundreds of eulogies have been written and delivered by Sheppard. "They ask me to do a eulogy. I try to tailor my remarks to the person I am eulogizing. Thurman Munson, Dick Howser, Billy Martin. Mickey Mantle's seemed to strike a cord because he died the night before."

Reggie Jackson pointed out that Sheppard's voice sounds like "the voice of God" as it reverberates through Yankee Stadium. Clay Bellinger made the point that "the first time I heard it, it was my realization of making the big leagues after 10 years in the minor leagues. Just think of all the people he's announced."

"There are three things that are perfectly Yankee - the pinstripes, the logo and Bob Sheppard's voice," comedian Billy Crystal said. "When to go to heaven, I want Bob Sheppard to announce me."

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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