Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy 99th, Shep!

"...Now Batting...Num-bah Two...Derek Jee-tah...Num-bah Two..."

Yesterday an American Sports icon turned 99 years of age and no I am not referring to former UCLA coach John Wooden who also struck the double-9's this month. Former Yankees PA announcer, nicknamed "The Voice of God," Bob Sheppard was honored on last night's FOX broadcast of the Yankees vs. Angels ALCS Game 4 when bozo Tim McCarver wished Shep a happy 99th birthday. It has long been assumed that the old fella was closing in on the century mark but last night was the first mention of Bob's actual age, something he has been trying to keep secret for many years (thanks McCarver!). Shep called his first game in 1951, a Yankee lineup that included Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra. Bob was also the voice of the New York Football Giants for decades. Shep called his last game at the Old Yankee Stadium in 2007 and has been on the disabled list ever since with a case of pneumonia that has kept him out of the booth and on Joe Girardi's injury report. Since he left the booth, Yankee Captain Derek Jeter has insisted that nobody else announce him when he comes to bat so a record of Sheppard's voice was made to introduce Jeter for what promises is the rest of his career in pinstripes. Too strong of a soul to formally announce his retirement, Bob has been trying to get healthy in order to make his first appearance at the new Yankee Stadium. Today we honor a legend of the game as Bob Sheppard is on our minds and in our hearts. We love you, Shep!

"...Now batting...Num-bah foa-tee-five...Dan-ny...Tah-tah-bull...Num-bah foa-tee-five..."