When the New York Yankees officially move in to their brand-new billion-dollar taxpayer-supported stadium in a few days, Bob Sheppard will not be joining them.
Sheppard, the long-time public address announcer for the House That Ruth Built, is retiring. Jack Curry of the NEW YORK TIMES says that Sheppard’s agent Paul Doherty told him that Bob’s son Paul told Doherty that his dear ol’ Dad is unplugging his PA mic at last. And if you can’t trust a pair of Pauls, who can you trust?
Sheppard’s voice has greeted, amused & warned fans in the Bronx ballpark since 1951. But Paul (the agent) believes that Bob was about due a break:
“I think Bob just wants to take it easy and no longer have the pressure of, ‘Can he? Will he? Or won’t he?’” Doherty said in an e-mail message. “And, at 98, who can blame him?”
Does this mean Bob is bound for the Old Folks Home? (He better be wary if his new roommate turns out to be Verne Gagne.) Of course he isn’t! Even though he’s saying so long to Stadium work, Sheppard is still striving to keep busy and be out & about:
“I’m happy to say that Bob is still doing well enough to drive a car,” Doherty said. “He picked his son up at the train this past weekend.”
A 98-year-old driver still out on the streets? All Farmers Markets in the Tri-State area should be put on red alert. But to be fair, a 98-year-old Bob Sheppard is probably a more competent motorist than 95% of the other New Yorkers on the road.
Anyway, Bob may have bolted from the PA booth, but his voice will live on through the hallowed halls of the Yanks’ new home. Derek Jeter made sure of it.