The Most Familiar Voice in Sports, Bob Sheppard, Passes Away at 99Public Address announcer Bob Sheppard had a career that spanned over half a century, lending his ominous voice and strategic cadence to New York sports venues such as Yankee Stadium, Giants Stadium and St. John's Alumni Hall.
It was said by many visiting baseball players that having Sheppard announce one's name before an at bat was validation that you had made it to the big leagues. Fans also felt that Sheppard's presence and austerity at a game or event seemed to raise it's importance. He never wavered in his style.
Sheppard began working for the Yankees in 1951 and the Giants in 1956, For the next 50 years until his retirement in 2006, It is said Sheppard never had a contract with the Giants, just a handshake agreement with another class act - Giants owner Wellington Mara.
Since Sheppard's retirement, the PA duties at Giants games have been assumed by another St. John's professor, Jim Hall.
Giants games were something special with Sheppard calling the action. He wasn't the "Voice of God" as Reggie Jackson once called him (that moniker was hung on NFL Films' John Facenda), but he was as close as New Yorkers could possibly get.
Sheppard, who would have turned 100 in October, was born in Richmond Hill in Queens and attended St. John's University, where he would later go on to teach Speech. He earned a Master's Degree at Columbia in 1933 and during WWII, was a Naval Officer stationed in the Pacific theater.
At St. John's University basketball games he would announce everything from baskets and fouls to local business ads during games. Sheppard prided himself as true professional but was not above delivering announcements such as " the owner of a green Dodge...your lights are on and your car is running...."...to the the delight of the audience.
Over the course of time, Sheppard has become the Gold Standard to which all PA announcers will be measured against. His quality of work and the dignified manner in which he carried himself will be remembered always by New Yorkers and sports fans alike.
According to sources...
St. John's University annually awards the Sheppard Trophy to the most outstanding student-athlete as one of its highest awards.
Sheppard has been awarded both World Series Championship rings, and NFL Super Bowl Championship ring honors in his role with the Yankees and the football Giants. The only other known 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 has been 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." Former CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite served as the public-address announcer during the ceremony.