Earlier this year, while recouperating from a bronchial infection, Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard denied his career was over, telling the New York Times’ Jack Curry, “I never said I’m not returning.” Yesterday, however, Sheppard said exactly that to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch :
“I have no plans of coming back,” Sheppard said on Wednesday in a telephone interview. “Time has passed me by, I think. I had a good run for it. I enjoyed doing what I did. I don’t think, at my age, I’m going to suddenly regain the stamina that is really needed if you do the job and do it well.”
Sheppard’s legendary service to the organization began by introducing the lineups on April 17, 1951, and spanned approximately 4,500 games, including 121 consecutive postseason contests, a streak that ended in 2007 due to illness.
Asked if he has any words of advice or wisdom for fans who hope to lead long and full lives of their own, Sheppard — a devout Roman Catholic — said that one possible secret for his longevity has been his spirituality, as he still tries to attend Mass every day.
“I pray. I thank God for giving me ninety-nine years,” Sheppard said. “Ninety-nine years. Wow. Can you envision that? If you dream of living long, I would recommend it to you.”
Presumably, Derek Jeter will continue his practice of being introduced by a tape recording of Sheppard, much as the bedrooms and bathrooms of Alex Rodriguez’ Manhattan apartment will continue to feature a digital samples of John Sterling declaring, “An A-Bomb! From A-Rod!”