We note with sadness the death, at 99, of longtime Yankee announcer Bob Sheppard, and of the era he helped to define.
From his New York Times obituary:
From the last days of DiMaggio through the primes of Mantle, Berra, Jackson and Jeter, Sheppard’s precise, resonant, even Olympian elocution — he was sometimes called the Voice of God — greeted Yankee fans with the words, “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Yankee Stadium.”
“The Yankees and Bob Sheppard were a marriage made in heaven,” said his son Paul Sheppard, a 71-year-old financial adviser. “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!’ ”
In an era of blaring stadium music, of public-address announcers styling themselves as entertainers and cheerleaders, Sheppard, a man with a passion for poetry and Shakespeare, shunned hyperbole.
“A public-address announcer should be clear, concise, correct,” he said. “He should not be colorful, cute or comic.”