Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Voices of Baseball......Slowly Being Silenced

This time I write as a baseball fan first and card collector second. Over the past several years, baseball has lost several of the legends who drew people to the game with their eloquence as broadcasters and play-by-play men. Growing up in the South, I was probably predestined to become an Atlanta Braves fan, but Skip Caray certainly had a hand in making the whole experience palatable throughout the 80's when they were often the worst Major League Baseball had to offer. His death in 2008 was like losing a family member.......specifically the drunken uncle who kept everyone in stitches at the family reunion :-) There has also been the passing of Ernie Harwell and Harry Kalas, who were superstars in their respective cities.

Today brings the passing of a baseball voice of a different sort. Bob Sheppard was the PA announcer @ Yankee Stadium for 57 years. He was as much a part of Yankee history as Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Jeter, or Mattingly. He even parlayed his gig into a show biz career, with a total of 15 TV and film credits, and always playing one of two parts......"Himself" or "Yankee Stadium Announcer".

I'm not a Yankee fan, but I'm fascinated by the figures that have come and gone throughout Yankee history. In every TV piece I've ever seen on Bob Sheppard, he struck me as being the guy whose picture you'd see above the word "erudite" in the dictionary. A very well-read and first class gentleman, and the true definition of minimalism in a job where many of his colleagues prefer over the top. He knew he wasn't the show, so all he did was give you what a PA announcer is supposed to......the names of the folks who were part of the show.

Rest in peace, Bob. When I enter the pearly gates, I hope you announce my arrival. Yankees announcer Sheppard dies

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