Bob Sheppard, the Yankee Stadium announcer known as the “Voice of God” for his resonant introductions of baseball players from Joe DiMaggio to Derek Jeter that echoed within the Bronx ballpark and carried well beyond to the elevated subway platforms, died Sunday morning at his home in Baldwin. He was 99.
Sheppard’s perfect diction and unhurried intonations made their debut at the Yankees’ baseball season opener of April 17, 1951 — and were heard at every opening-day game until April 11, 2006, when he dislocated his artificial hip.
A bronchial infection led to a lengthy hospital stay at the end of the 2007 regular season, and the Yankees said he never returned to announce another game. By then, Sheppard’s voice had reverberated in New York City’s most-famous stadium for more than half a century and in more than 4,400 games.
“Your attention, please, ladies and gentlemen,” Sheppard would demand, whether asking fans to rise for the national anthem or to note: “Now batting for the Yankees, the shortstop, No. 2, Derek Jeter, No. 2.”
A recording of Sheppard’s introduction of Jeter now plays at the player’s request and has since Sheppard’s lengthy absence in 2007, the Yankees said.