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'Voice of Yankee Stadium' was a witness to sports history

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Bob Sheppard: 'Distinguished gentleman'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bob Sheppard was the Yankees public address announcer from 1951-2007
  • He was known as "The Voice of Yankee Stadium"
  • He died at his home in Baldwin, New York
  • Sheppard was also announcer for the New York Giants and other teams
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(CNN) -- Bob Sheppard, the longtime public address announcer for the New York Yankees, died Sunday at his home in Baldwin, New York, a team spokesman said. He was 99.

Sheppard announced his first game at Yankee Stadium in 1951, and his last in 2007, according to a statement released by the Yankees. His career spanned 4,500 baseball games, including 121 playoff contests and 52 World Series games.

The native of the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood was known as "The Voice of Yankee Stadium."

Joe DiMaggio was in his last season and Mickey Mantle was on his first the year that Sheppard began his announcing duties, the Yankees said. He was there for Roger Maris' 61st home run in 1961 and Reggie Jackson's three-homer game at the World Series in 1977, the club said.

The Yankees discovered Sheppard at Yankee Stadium, where he was announcing for the then-Yankees football team. The football team hired him away from another football team who had found him when he was volunteering his services for a charity football game in Long Island, the Yankees said.

In addition to the Yankees, Sheppard was the announcer of the NFL's Giants for 50 seasons, in addition to other sports teams in New York at all levels.

"Most men go to work, but I go to a game," Sheppard said, according to the Yankees. "How many men would love to do that?"

Sheppard attended St. John's College, now St. John's University, on a full athletic scholarship. He played quarterback on the football team, and went on to earn a graduate degree at Columbia and became a teacher.

A wake will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Fullerton Funeral Home in Baldwin, and the funeral will be held on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. at St. Christopher's Church in Baldwin.