Saturday, July 31, 2010


July 31, 2010


The Yankees made one final move to upgrade their bullpen before
the Trade Deadline, acquiring right-hander Kerry Wood from the
Indians for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Yankees Acquire Lance Berkman

Not sure if this move was necessary.  We already have too many DHs, especially with Posada filling the role.  Lance is having a down here as it is.  I hope he comes here and gets hot..... 
July 31, 2010

cash from the Houston Astros for pitcher Mark Melancon and
minor league infielder Jimmy Paredes on Saturday afternoon. 

Berkman has spent all 12 seasons of his career with the Astros 
and has compiled a .296 career average with 326 home runs and 
1090 RBIs. This season, the switch-hitting slugger is batting 
.245 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs. Berkman has hit over 40 home 
runs twice in his career (2002 and 2006) and driven in over 
100 runs six times.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Babe Ruth will pops up on LI by Chuck Bennett

Babe Ruth will pops up on LI

Last Updated: 4:26 PM, July 26, 2010
Posted: 3:00 AM, July 26, 2010
He signed scads of autographs during a storied career, but the Sultan of Swat’s last one is getting all the attention.
The last will and testament of Babe Ruth —complete with a shaky, misspelled "Georgge HermanRuth" signature — had been missing for at least nine years, stolen from a Manhattan court house only to wind up with a Long Island memorabilia collector, The Post has learned.
What happened in between seems to be as inscrutable as the infield fly rule. But the FBI is determined to unravel the circuitous route of the Babe’s last wishes, documented in 1948, to the Suffolk County home of tax preparer Mark Lewis.
"Babe Ruth may have signed a million autographs for fans during his life time, but this signature was, perhaps, his last," said Peter Nash, a former rap artist with the group Third Bass turned baseball historian who writes about stolen and fake baseball memorabilia on
The will had been missing Manhattan Surrogates Court for years.
"We know that the will was apparently stolen from Manhattan Surrogates Court, and we are looking into it," FBI Special Agent James Margolin told The Post.
Lewis had stepped up to the plate in 1999, reportedly buying the Bambino’s will for an eye-popping $30,000 and claiming he got it from the grandson of Ruth’s lawyer.
The will came back into the public eye in 2004, when Lewis tried to auction it off through Sotheby’s but the city asked the sale be stopped until it sort out who has legal ownership of the document.

Cops, FBI work to Wright a baseball wrong by Dave Wedge

Cops, FBI work to Wright a baseball wrong
By Dave Wedge   |   Tuesday, July 27, 2010  |  |  Local Coverage
Photo by Herald file
Hub gumshoes are hot on the trail of a stolen will signed by an old-time Boston Hall of Fame ball player as part of a wider probe into black market memorabilia trafficking, the Herald has learned.
Boston cops are trying to broker a deal with a Virginia baseball collector to return a will signed by 1870s Hub star George Wright, a Hall of Famer who won six titles in the game’s infancy with the Red Stockings, a precursor of the Boston Braves. The document, a signed “executor’s bond” for the estate of Wright’s wife, Abbie, was among a batch of historic papers swiped from the Suffolk Probate Court in the late 1990s.
“We’re trying to work it out now with the person who is in possession of it,” said Detective Steven Blair of the Boston Police Special Investigations Unit. “I’d rather get it back in the Probate Court, which is where it belongs. If (the collector) doesn’t agree to give it back, we’ll pursue it criminally.”
Wright’s signature, a rare item in the baseball memorabilia world, was cut out of the document and had been up for sale on an autograph Web site for $6,500. The listing has since been pulled down.
Blair, who worked on an infamous 1998 case involving the theft of dozens of ball players’ wills from Suffolk Probate Court, said investigators are still trying to recover documents from the heists. Former Suffolk court officer Joe Schnabel admitted swiping several wills from the Boston courthouse, as well as others out of state courts, and served probation.
“We don’t know how many of them are out there. They keep popping up on these auction sites,” Blair said.
The bid to recover Wright’s will comes as a larger FBI probe continues into the theft of rare papers and photos from courts and libraries in New York and Boston, including the 1948 will of slugger Babe Ruth, which was stolen from New York. That will, which includes one of the final signatures of the Sultan of Swat, recently turned up on an auction site for $95,000, according to, a blog that tracks memorabilia fraud.
Also still missing is a Ruth mortgage document - swiped from Middlesex Probate Court - for a house the home run king owned in Sudbury in the 1920s.
Suffolk Register of Probate Richard Iannella said his office implemented strict new security protocols after the thefts and now keeps celebrity papers in a private vault.
“These documents belong to the court and, more importantly, the people,” Iannella said. “This is the history of the commonwealth.”
Article URL:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jeter, long face of Yankees has become image of MLB

Jeter, long face of Yankees has become image of MLB

July 19, 2010 by NEIL BEST /

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter hits
It is no revelation to call Derek Jeter the face of the Yankees, now more than ever after the passing of George Steinbrenner, the franchise's dominant figure for more than a third of a century.
That was evident in the decision to have Jeter represent the team during the ceremony Friday honoring Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, and in many smaller ways during a historic week for the franchise.
The more interesting question is whether the Yankees captain is not merely the front man for the Yankees but whether he is the current face of Major League Baseball itself.
Overstatement? Consider a Sports Business Daily poll released Monday in which more than four dozen sports business executives and journalists named Jeter the most marketable player in baseball.
By a lot. Jeter was named first on 39 of 49 ballots, far ahead of Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer. No one else got more than three first-place votes.
The last time SBD took a survey of this sort was in 2005. Jeter finished first. The time before that was 2003. Jeter finished first.
The time before that was 1999. Jeter finished fourth, behind sluggers Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
That is a stunningly long run of popularity, especially given his determinedly bland, non-controversial image - or maybe because of it.
While other stars have come and gone amid declining play and/or substance-abuse scandals, Jeter has kept rolling along, seemingly immune to trouble.
His failure to attend Sheppard's funeral in Baldwin last week was criticized in some quarters. But like most hiccups in his career, he shrugged it off, and the fallout was minor.
Consider by contrast the mercurial fortunes of the only other player to make all four SBD lists: Alex Rodriguez. In 1999, he was sixth. In both '03 and '05, he finished second to Jeter. This year, he fell to ninth, even as he closes in on his 600th career home run.
Jeter has endorsed Nike, Gatorade, Gillette and Ford, among other companies and products, and earns about $9 million per year off the field, Forbes estimated in 2009.
Brian Helfrich, SBD's assistant managing editor, said the staff was surprised not by Jeter's three-peat but by the margin of victory.
"At 36, he's more and more the most marketable player - and arguably the only nationally marketable baseball player," Helfrich said.
How bare is baseball's cupboard of nationally recognizable stars? Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg finished fourth on the 2010 list.
If the Daily waits another five seasons to do its next poll, it is reasonable to assume Jeter won't win it again. Already, his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are lower than for any of his full major-league seasons, and his contract is up.
But for now, Jeter's status never has been loftier. He might not be the Boss, but he is the Man.
McCarver spanks Yanks
Speaking of iconic Yankees, Joe Torre came up on Fox's telecast Saturday when Tim McCarver ripped the team for not paying proper tribute to its former manager in and around the new stadium.
Alas, McCarver undermined his case by violating one of the basic rules of public speaking and writing about sports: Leave the Nazis out of it!
McCarver compared the Yankees' treatment of Torre to German and Russian leaders in World War II who airbrushed deceased generals out of pictures.
"In a sense, that's what the Yankees have done with Joe Torre," he said. "They have airbrushed his legacy. I mean, there's no sign of Joe Torre at the stadium. That's ridiculous."
Oosthuizen doesn't rate
Sunday's not-so-grand finale of the first all-cable golf major attracted a measly average of 2.1 percent of U.S. households, a record low for the British Open, and 2.97 million viewers.
Many at the broadcast networks' sports divisions were closely monitoring ESPN's figures, certain they would be lower than in the past because ratings usually suffer when events leave over-the-air TV.
(There are about 15 million U.S. homes that do not have cable or satellite TV service.)
But a fair comparison might have to wait until next year - or at least until the first BCS Championship Game on ESPN in January.
Through the first three rounds, ratings were on pace to be their best since 2006. But Sunday's runaway victory for little-known Louis Oosthuizen was a formula for ratings disaster, no matter what channel it was on.
Bernstein leaves Kay show
Bonnie Bernstein has left 1050 ESPN's Michael Kay show and starting Monday will assume a new role as co-host with Greg Buttle of "New York Football Live" 7-9 p.m. weeknights, 1050 general manager Dave Roberts said. Roberts called the show part of the station's "comprehensive" plans to cover the Jets and Giants. Mark Sanchez will join Eli Manning and Rex Ryan as regulars on Kay's show and former Giant Antonio Pierce will contribute to various shows. Bernstein joined 1050 in September, but saw her role on Kay's show gradually diminish. When Kay was on, she mostly was limited to providing news updates.

Monday, July 19, 2010

“The Boss” Takes Final Bow His Way, In The Spotlight by Jason Klein

“The Boss” Takes Final Bow His Way, In The Spotlight

By Jason Klein  ArchiveTwitterContact Me
“The Boss” did it again, one last time.
As the baseball world prepares for tonight’s 81st All-Star Game in Anaheim, George M. Steinbrenner III grabbed the headlines for the final time.  He passed away, early this morning, at his Tampa home.  He had just turned 80 years-old on the fourth of July.
Bob Sheppard, the legendary Yankees Public Address Announcer, died this past Sunday.  “The Voice of God” never wanted to be the story, he just wanted to introduce it before it happened.
By contrast, Steinbrenner relished the spotlight.  He was bombastic, relentless, and focused.  He took great pleasure in owning the back pages.  After all, he often had the best product, in the biggest city, and wanted everyone to know it.
Reporters would wait for him and hang on his every word.  A colorful quote from George Steinbrenner was priceless, and he knew just what people wanted to hear.
His 37-year reign atop the Yankees organization saw his club win 11 American League Championships and 7 World Series, including the final one played during his remarkable life, this past season.  In 1973, he headed a group of investors who purchased the franchise for just $10 million.  He proceeded to build the team into a billion dollar operation over the next four decades.
It wasn’t always champagne and championship rings along the way for Steinbrenner.  His fickle personality created tremendous tension around his employees, including his managers who always seemed to be on notice.  He changed managers 20 times in his first 23 years as owner, including five separate stints for Billy Martin.  He also fired Yogi Berra just three weeks into the 1985 season, creating animosity that kept Berra away from the Bronx for 14 years.
He was suspended from baseball twice, once in 1974 for his involvement in a President Nixon campaign finance scandal, and again in 1990 when he paid a man named Howard Spira for “dirt” on his own player, Dave Winfield.
Upon his return to baseball in the mid-nineties, a calmer Steinbrenner helped stabilize the franchise.  He hired Joe Torre as manager, developed young, home-grown stars in Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, and won 4 World Series titles in 5 years from 1996-2000.
At all times, Steinbrenner’s passion for winning superseded everything.  He was once, famously quoted as saying, “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing.  Breathing first, winning next.”
“The Boss” had tremendous financial resources that teams in other markets didn’t enjoy, but he routinely pumped that money back into his team.  Many chastised Steinbrenner for his free spending, but ultimately, he operated within the rules of the sport and raised the competitive bar throughout baseball.
As his health declined in recent years, and the power shifted to his sons, Hal and Hank, the winning mantra remained strong.  Steinbrenner demanded perfection from his players, and considered anything short of a championship to be failure.  In 2009, for the final time on Steinbrenner’s watch, the Yankees captured the 27th World Series in franchise history.
It was one last Title for a man who devoted all his energy to winning.
He went out a winner.
“The Boss” did it again, one last time.
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Steinbrenner laid to rest at family-filled Florida funeral by Erin Calabrese

Steinbrenner laid to rest at family-filled Florida funeral

Last Updated: 12:13 PM, July 18, 2010
Posted: 3:10 AM, July 18, 2010
TRINITY, Fla. -- The Boss was laid to rest in his own Monument Park yesterday.
The body of the beloved baseball giant, who resurrected the Yankees and transformed the sport, was entombed at a Florida cemetery in an imposing blue-gray crypt with pillars and stones the color of those at Yankee Stadium as his widow, Joan, and children watched and wept.
His daughter Jennifer wiped away tears and leaned her forehead on Joan's head while sons Hal, Hank and team Vice President Felix Lopez wheeled Steinbrenner's gray casket from a hearse into the structure, framed by potted bouquets of red roses and carnations.
It was a fitting, final farewell to the sports world's most grandiose sportsman.
Lopez told The Post that the family was holding up "as well as can be expected."
The Boss' wife, four children and grandkids began assembling at about 2 p.m. at Trinity Memorial Gardens cemetery in Trinity, some 35 minutes from the team's spring-training complex, Steinbrenner Field, in Tampa.
They were among about 40 mourners who drove in a parade of dark vehicles into the Trinity compound, which includes a building where private memorial services are held.
The cars included a black Rolls-Royce with the team's NY logo on the front plate.
After more than 90 minutes inside, the group emerged and piled into a half-dozen black Cadillac Escalades for a somber ride to the crypt.
A hearse carrying George's body rolled through Trinity's front gates at 3:50 p.m. and headed to the stone monument.
There, at 4:05 p.m., George's casket, bluish-gray with silver handles, was taken out of the vehicle, wheeled inside and carefully placed.
The stone of the crypt remains blank -- it's not been engraved with Steinbrenner's name or any epitaph.
The family did not issue any statement and remained mum about the memorial service.
Lopez, who was with The Boss when he passed away of a heart attack on Tuesday at 80, called the experience of that final moment "hard."
There wasn't a dry eye among his friends in Tampa.
"We loved George and he loved it here," said Malio Iavarone, who owns a steakhouse in the city's downtown and had been close pals with Steinbrenner for 30 years.
Bomber bluster: Players' fave George stories:
Goose Gossage, pitcher, 1978-83, 1989
I had some pretty good sparring things with him. When I broke my thumb in the Cliff Johnson fight [a clubhouse brawl with his teammate after an April 1979 game], he called me up to the office and he said, ‘I’m going to have to dock you three months pay, that’s all there is to it. What the hell were you doing?’ And I said, ‘George, if I walked over there and reached across the table and smacked you upside the head, what would you do?’ He goes, ‘I’d probably smack you back.’ I said, ‘Well, there you have it.’ He said, ‘Get the hell out of my office.’
Cecil Fielder, first baseman and designated hitter, 1996-97
The funniest story was with Kenny Rogers. We were in the clubhouse and playing Baltimore. We weren’t playing good at that point in ’96, and Baltimore was starting to creep back on us. George came into the clubhouse and came into the players’ lounge, and there was a big bowl of fruit on the table. So he said, ‘Kenny, do you know where those strawberries came from?’ And Kenny said, ‘Probably from the great state of Florida and my city, Plant City.’ He said, ‘Well, if you don’t go out there tonight and pitch well, that’s where you’re going, back to Plant City.’ That’s George.
Bucky Dent, shortstop, 1977-82
Upon bumping into Steinbrenner in a Boston hotel before the 1978 one-game playoff with the Red Sox in which Dent hit the game-winning home run:
I was going down an elevator and the doors open and he got on and I went, Oh boy, this is going to be a cold ride down. And he mumbled something about, ‘Tomorrow’s going to be your day.’
Charlie Hayes, third baseman, 1992, 1996-97
When I think of George, I remember when we won the 1996 World Series. And I go home and, maybe a month later, I got a knock on my door and it’s the trainer. The trainer was there to help me lose weight, and to try and get better. That says a lot about George. We won the World Series and the next day, he was trying to win in ’97.

Family says goodbye to Steinbrenner in private by Kimberley A. Martin

Family says goodbye to Steinbrenner in private

July 17, 2010 by KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN /

This file photo shows New

TRINITY, Fla. -- One by one, the tinted SUVs and the stretch limo carrying the Steinbrenner family pulled into Trinity Memorial Gardens - the final resting place of baseball's most noted owner.
In a private ceremony underneath a hot Florida sun Saturday, his wife, Joan, and their four children said goodbye to George Steinbrenner, who died of a heart attack Tuesday at the age of 80.
It was a quiet send-off for the hard-driving man who experienced a tumultuous career in baseball, yet endeared himself to the Tampa community because of his unwavering generosity.
The Steinbrenner family and the Yankees did not release any details concerning the funeral, but word of its whereabouts spread by midmorning.
Reporters, photographers and local television crews descended upon the cemetery but were asked by police to stand back about 150 yards behind the property's fence. A security detail was stationed in front of the brown double-doors that led to the chapel, and a steady stream of police cars came and left.
The loud buzzing of a circling news helicopter filled the air in the moments leading up to the family's arrival.
Jessica Steinbrenner and her husband, Yankees senior vice president Felix Lopez, pulled into the cemetery, located about 35 minutes from Steinbrenner's Tampa home, at about 1:30 p.m. in a tinted black Mercedes SUV. Her sister, Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, arrived separately in a tinted blue Escalade a few minutes later. At about 2:35 p.m., Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner arrived with his older son in a stretch black limo and entered the chapel.
Between 35 and 40 people, including Yankees employees, attended the service. Flags on the premises were at half staff.
At about 3:40 p.m., a hearse drove up to a white-grayish mausoleum, followed by several SUVs. A casket, surrounded by Steinbrenner's sons Hank and Hal, was taken inside the crypt. Large arrangements of red and white flowers were positioned on both sides of the entrance.
The family spent about seven minutes inside the tomb and Joan Steinbrenner later shook hands with cemetery officials while mourners returned to their cars.
Police stopped traffic on State Road 54 at about 4:05 p.m. as the family caravan - which included a stretch limo, seven dark-colored SUVs, a Rolls-Royce and a Lexus - left the grounds.
Several curious commuters stopped their cars on the busy six-lane highway to ask whose funeral service was in progress.
Tampa resident Brendan Morgan, who was wearing a faded Yankees hat as he rode his bike in the cemetery before the funeral, said he saw the grounds crew working Friday night on the mausoleum believed to be Steinbrenner's.
The 33-year-old also said his soon-to-be father-in-law worked security for Steinbrenner and received a World Series ring from the team. (Morgan showed reporters a picture of the engraved championship ring on his smartphone as proof.)
Steinbrenner's funeral capped a series of tributes that began Thursday night on Long Island as the baseball team sponsored by Hank Steinbrenner known as "Hank's Yanks'' held a moment of silence for The Boss.
They continued with Friday night's tribute before the Yankees' home game against the Rays - the Yankees' first contest since the owner's death - and yesterday's Old-Timers' Day at the Stadium.
A public memorial service for Steinbrenner is expected to be held in the near future.

Steinbrenner's death has Jackson reeling by Brian Costello

Steinbrenner's death has Jackson reeling

Last Updated: 12:48 PM, July 18, 2010
Posted: 4:09 AM, July 18, 2010
Reggie Jackson had to be talked into being at Yankee Stadium yesterday. The Yankees legend has been shaken since George Steinbrenner died on Tuesday, and he thought about skipping this year's Old-Timers' Day.
"I'd rather not be here today," Jackson said. "I'd rather have passed [on the invitation]. But I need to be here. I talked to some people that I respect in the leadership of the club. They thought I should be here so I'm here. It will be tough. I'll enjoy it. The feelings will be good."
Jackson was emotional when speaking of the man who brought him to New York in November of 1976. Jackson and Steinbrenner had a complicated relationship over three decades, but the two were very close in recent years.
Steinbrenner gave Jackson a role in the organization as a special adviser and the two spoke often. They last talked to each other on July 4, Steinbrenner's 80th birthday.
"It was pretty tough when I heard about it early in the morning on Tuesday," Jackson said. "I had just spoken to him on his birthday, a wonderful conversation. I was a frequent caller to him to see how he was doing and stay in touch."
Jackson said Steinbrenner has sounded good in recent months, asking him for his thoughts on the current team and how Jackson thought Steinbrenner's sons, Hank and Hal, were doing running the team.
"I was caught off guard," Jackson said of the Boss' death. "I got quiet, pensive, was lucky to be around close friends."
Jackson was in Anaheim, Calif., for the All-Star Game. He attended the game, but did not participate in a pregame ceremony he was scheduled to be in and cancelled an interview with Fox.
"I just got quiet for a couple of days," Jackson said. "I don't think I could have held it together very well."
Jackson spent five seasons as a Yankee before Steinbrenner let him leave as a free agent to join the California Angels.
Unlike some who have left the Yankees, Jackson said he always felt welcomed by Steinbrenner.
"I would honestly say that since 1976, I never felt outcast or thrown out by George Steinbrenner, by The Boss," Jackson said. "I was gone after a couple of years. I was disappointed and hurt when I left. He said several times, if he said it once he said it a hundred times the biggest mistake I ever made in baseball was letting Reggie Jackson go. So we were never enemies. There was always respect.
"If I had any difficult times with him it was because I was in a learning process of understanding life, and so I look at all of the times I had with him as building a stronger relationship. There are players and owners in history that are tied together in sports. I'm proud to be tied to him. That will never change."
In Jackson's current role, he said he sees signs of Steinbrenner in how people in the organization approach their jobs. He does not believe the team will take a step back in any way now that Steinbrenner is gone.
"When you do think of him and you do think of the Yankees certainly his personality, the demand for excellence, comes through," he said.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

George Steinbrenner's family mourns at Florida cemetery

George Steinbrenner's family mourns at Florida cemetery

TRINITY, Fla. (AP) — The family of George Steinbrenner placed a casket inside a mausoleum at a cemetery near Tampa on Saturday, four days after the death of the New York Yankees owner.
The two sons and two daughters of the 80-year-old owner were joined by his wife, Joan, at Trinity Memorial Garden Cemetery.
Neither the Yankees nor cemetery officials would confirm that services were taking place. The cemetery is located in Pasco County, about a half-hour drive north of Steinbrenner's home.

Yankees co-chairmen Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and daughters Jessica Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal arrived on a steamy, humid afternoon with temperatures in the 90s. About 40 people were there, including Yankees employees. Flags within sight were at half staff.
Those who gathered spent about 45 minutes inside a large building on the property, then walked outside into waiting vehicles. A hearse and five SUVs then drove a short distance to the grey stone mausoleum, where the two sons stood in front.
A casket was taken from the hearse — Steinbrenner's two sons were among the pallbearers — and brought inside the mausoleum as family members watched.
Hank Steinbrenner then escorted his mother into the tomb.
The family spent less than 10 minutes inside. Joan Steinbrenner then shook hands with cemetery employees as mourners began leaving the grounds, and the family left in a caravan of cars a little after 4 p.m.
The mausoleum is across a busy road from a horse ranch. Steinbrenner was passionate about horses and owned a horse farm in Ocala, Fla.
George Steinbrenner, who had turned over day-to-day operations of the Yankees to his sons in 2007, died of a heart attack Tuesday in Tampa. A public memorial is expected to be held at a later date, although plans have not been announced.
Steinbrenner was honored Friday night at Yankee Stadium, where the team played for the first time since his death. Mariano Rivera (FSY) laid two long-stemmed red roses across home plate, tears filled manager Joe Girardi's eyes and Derek Jeter (FSY) asked for a moment of silence. Fans stood as "Taps" echoed through the palatial ballpark Steinbrenner helped build.

George Steinbrenner's family mourns at Florida cemetery

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Microphone of God - by Peter Schw

The Microphone of God

Since the passing of Bob Sheppard last week, there have been many stories written about the long-time Yankees public address announcer. Many of them dealt with what Reggie Jackson called “The Voice Of God.” Some of them touched on the fact that Sheppard was a true gentleman and also seemed to have a smile on his face. Having covered so many Yankee games over the years, I was one of many people who were lucky enough to meet Sheppard, talk with him, and shake his hand. When having a meal in the press room, I always tried to find a seat next to his table. It’s not that I was trying to eavesdrop on his conversations with others, but the goal was always to just hear that soothing, distinguished voice that I always heard as a kid going to games with my dad.
It was that same voice that I grew to appreciate more and more as I got older and went to games with family and friends. Then, as I made my way in the broadcasting business, one of the fringe benefits of covering so many games was knowing that no matter what happened in the game, and what the clubhouse was like after the game, it would be a day or evening that started with…
“Good Afternoon or Good Evening Ladies and Gentleman and Welcome to Yankee Stadium
There was one night when I got to the Stadium a little later than I wanted to. I ran into the press room with my bag and quickly grabbed a bite to eat. When I was done, I gathered my stuff together, grabbed my bag, and raced to the elevator up to the press box.
That’s when I ran into Sheppard in the hallway by the elevator. That legendary voice then said…
“You seem to be in a hurry young man,” said Sheppard with his trademark smile.
What was pretty neat about that was that those words were only for me and not for 50,000 people. We struck up conversation for a few minutes as we both made our way up to the press box.
As a kid, my lasting Bob Sheppard memories came from the many “Bat Days” that I went to. At some point during the game, Sheppard would ask the young fans in-between innings to raise their bats in the air so that photographers can get a picture.
Then, “The Voice Of God” became “The Voice Of Common Sense” when he said…..
“Now, carefully, put them down.”
I’ll always cherish my many brief conversations with “The Voice of Yankee Stadium,” but my favorite professional moment as it relates to Bob Sheppard had nothing to do with the Yankees at all.
In addition to working for the Yankees, Sheppard was also the public address announcer for other teams including the football Giants and St. John’s Basketball.
In 2007, the New York Red Bulls soccer team contacted me because they needed a fill-in public address announcer at Giants Stadium for a few games. That first night, I was pretty excited as I drove to the Meadowlands. I was going to be a public address announcer for a professional sports game.
Truth be told, there weren’t that many fans at the game but it was still a pretty big moment for me. As I was sitting in booth getting ready for the game, the technician asked me if everything was okay and I said yes. He then said something that made the night a bit more special.
“Not to put any pressure on you,” said the technician. “But you are about the use the same microphone that Bob Sheppard used for many years.”
That was really all that I could think of saying. I was sitting in the same chair and using the same microphone that Sheppard used for Giants games. Now I started to get a little nervous because this was not a Yankees game or a Giants game. It was a soccer game and the powers that be wanted me to be up-tempo and get a little excited in announcing the Red Bulls lineups and goals.
I remembered an interview that Sheppard did a few years back saying how he didn’t care for the modern day “screamers” that served as public address announcers at stadiums and arenas. I couldn’t sound like the Red Bulls regular public address announcer. I just couldn’t bring myself to screaming into Bob Sheppard’s microphone.
I spoke slowly and clearly into that microphone and brought things up just a tad when announcing the Red Bulls’ lineup and goals.
At the end of the night, I felt pretty good about myself. It was another special moment of my career and it connected me with someone that I had respected since I was a boy walking into and out of Yankee Stadium for the first time back in 1972.
I was lucky enough to use that microphone a few more times after that first night. It’s a lasting memory that I will always have of Giants Stadium.
Thanks for the memories Bob! Rest in peace and thanks for inspiring me to do a good job with your microphone!

Yankees announcer Sheppard eulogized for his style, warmth by Mark Hermann

Yankees announcer Sheppard eulogized for his style, warmth

July 15, 2010 by MARK HERRMANN /

Bob Sheppardraquo;s coffin is carried
The priceless intonations of Bob Sheppard at Yankee Stadium all those years actually did have a price. He earned $15 a game in 1951. "Seventeen-fifty for doubleheaders,'' the Rev. Steven Camp said during Sheppard's funeral yesterday.
What made his style priceless, all the speakers said, was that he painstakingly enunciated every name because he believed in every person's dignity. And that belief shaped his multifaceted life, regardless of whether he was behind a microphone.
Sheppard was recalled for his faith and warmth as well as his renowned ability to pronounce the likes of Chico Carrasquel and Hideki Matsui (two of his favorite baseball names). He was honored as "a gentleman and a gentle man,'' as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said during Sheppard's one last time in his beloved St. Christopher's Roman Catholic Church in Baldwin, where he had attended daily Mass and read scriptures from the pulpit.
Several speakers went to that same pulpit Thursday - in front of his widow, Mary, his four children and about 800 others - and talked about the man whose elocution inspired the nickname "the voice of God.''
"He is so much more than that special voice,'' Cashman said. "Bob will not be known only as a great teacher of speech, but he will best be remembered as a great teacher of life.''
Camp, the pastor at St. Christopher's, mentioned the first Palm Sunday on which he and his friend together read the long gospel account of Jesus' passion. Sheppard read the part of narrator, and Camp read the parts spoken by Christ. "As he begins to read, I'm back in 1964 with him announcing 'Mick-ey Man-tle.' And now it's my turn to read and I'm totally lost,'' he recalled, adding that Sheppard tried to get him back on track with a stage whisper.
Sheppard got him off track again yesterday. Camp came close to choking up as he said, "Why is Bob Sheppard so respected and loved? Not because he was the voice of the Yankees and Giants. He was respected and loved because he was a good and decent man.''
It was a vibrant Mass, with 14 priests and four deacons on the altar, Irish tenor Ronan Tynan singing "Ave Maria'' and "Panis Angelicus,'' and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani sitting in one of the front pews. Many Yankees employees (no players) arrived by bus. After it was over, people stood on Merrick Road and gave Sheppard, inside the hearse, one last round of applause.
Giants president John Mara referred to the 50 years Sheppard spent as public address announcer for his team, recalling with relish the time Sheppard was asked by Phil Rizzuto on TV during a rain delay to name his favorite Stadium memory. He responded, "The day [Pat] Summerall kicked that field goal in the snow to beat Cleveland.''
Former basketball coach Lou Carnesecca spoke on behalf of St. John's, Sheppard's alma mater and his employer for his many years as a speech professor. Carnesecca said he wished he had had the opportunity to study under Sheppard so his words Thursday would have been more polished. Pointing to the coffin, he said, "To you, Bob, we salute you and we love you.''
Paul Sheppard, Bob's older son, called his father "a tough act to follow,'' describing his distinguished athletic career - seven letters in college - and his humanity. He marveled at the former sports star's "total lack of profanity,'' remembering the time Bob tried to fix a flat tire, only to have the jack collapse on his wrist. The son said, "Bloodied, he exclaimed, 'Darn!' ''
He drew more chuckles when he told of how he and his three siblings never knew much about Milton Berle because in the 1950s, the comedian was on opposite Bishop Fulton Sheen, and Sheen was required viewing in their house. More poignant was the recollection of the promise Sheppard made to attend daily Mass when his first wife, Margaret, became gravely ill more than 50 years ago. He kept that vow as long as he was physically able.
"I have a very strong feeling,'' the son said, "that our Lord has already recruited Dad. And if you and I are fortunate enough someday to reach the heavenly gates, we'll probably hear, 'Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to heaven.' ''

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner dies at 80 by Ronald Blum AP

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner dies at 80
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) George Steinbrenner, who rebuilt the New York Yankees into a sports empire with a mix of bluster and big bucks that polarized fans all across America, died Tuesday. He had just celebrated his 80th birthday July 4.
Steinbrenner had a heart attack, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and died at about 6:30 a.m, a person close to the owner told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not disclosed those details.
His death on the day of the All-Star game was the second in three days to rock the Yankees. Bob Sheppard, the team's revered public address announcer from 1951-07, died Sunday at 99.
For more than 30 years and through seven World Series championships, Steinbrenner lived up to his billing as "the Boss," a nickname he earned and clearly enjoyed as he ruled with an iron fist. While he lived in Tampa he was a staple on the front pages of New York newspapers.
"He was an incredible and charitable man," his family said in a statement. "He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again."
Steinbrenner's mansion, on a leafy street in an older neighborhood of south Tampa, was quiet Tuesday morning. Private security guards milled around on the empty circular driveway inside the iron gates. A police officer took up a position outside the gates to turn away reporters and keep traffic moving along the narrow street. News vehicles lined the other side of the street.
"The passing of George Steinbrenner marks the end of an era in New York City baseball history," rival Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz said. "George was a larger than life figure and a force in the industry. The rise and success of his teams on the field and in the business marketplace under his leadership are a testament to his skill, drive, and determination."
Steinbrenner was known for feuds, clashing with Yankees great Yogi Berra and hiring manager Billy Martin five times while repeatedly fighting with him. But as his health declined, Steinbrenner let sons Hal and Hank run more of the family business.
Steinbrenner was in fragile health for years, resulting in fewer public appearances and pronouncements. Yet dressed in his trademark navy blue blazer and white turtleneck, he was the model of success: In addition to the World Series titles, the Yankees won 11 American League pennants and 16 AL East titles after his reign began in 1973.
"Few people have had a bigger impact on New York over the past four decades than George Steinbrenner," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. "George had a deep love for New York, and his steely determination to succeed combined with his deep respect and appreciation for talent and hard work made him a quintessential New Yorker."
He appeared at the new Yankee Stadium just four times: for the 2009 opener, the first two games of last year's World Series and this year's homer opener, when captain Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi went to his suite and personally delivered his seventh World Series ring.
"He was very emotional," said Hal Steinbrenner, his father's successor as managing general partner.
Till the end, Steinbrenner demanded championships. He barbed Joe Torre during the 2007 AL playoffs, then let the popular manager leave after another loss in the opening round. The team responded last year by winning another title.
Steinbrenner had fainted at a memorial service for NFL star Otto Graham in 2003, appeared weak in 2006 at the groundbreaking for the new Yankee Stadium and later became ill while watching his granddaughter in a college play.
In recent times, Steinbrenner let sons Hal and Hank run more of the family business. Still, the former Big Ten football coach took umbrage when others questioned his fitness.
"No, I did not have a stroke. I am not ill. I work out daily," Steinbrenner said in 2006. "I'd like to see people who are saying that to come down here and do the workout that I do."
When Steinbrenner headed a group that bought the team on Jan. 3, 1973, he promised absentee ownership. But it didn't turn out that way.
Steinbrenner not only clashed with Berra for more than a decade but paid to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield, deriding the future Hall of Famer as "Mr. May" in 1985 after poor performances. Berra's wife, Carmen, said Tuesday her husband was at a golf event in Pennsylvania and was expected to comment later in the day.
While he liked to appear stern, Steinbrenner could poke fun at himself. He hosted "Saturday Night Live," clowned with Martin in a commercial and chuckled at his impersonation on "Seinfeld."
He gave millions to charity, often with one stipulation, that no one be told who made the donation.
The Yankees paid off for him, too, with their value increasing more than 100-fold from the $8.7 million net price his group paid in January 1973. He freely spent his money, shelling out huge amounts for Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, Torre and others in hopes of yet another title.
"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," Steinbrenner was fond of saying. "Breathing first, winning next."
All along, he envisioned himself as a true Yankee Doodle Dandy. It was fitting: George Michael Steinbrenner III was born on the Fourth of July, in 1930.
Added up, he joined the likes of Al Davis, Charlie O. Finley, Bill Veeck, George Halas, Jack Kent Cooke and Jerry Jones as the most recognized team owners in history.
Steinbrenner's sporting interests extended beyond baseball.
He was an assistant football coach at Northwestern and Purdue in the 1950s and was part of the group that bought the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League in the 1960s.
"A lot of people didn't like him, but I liked him," former Yankee Tim Raines said. "He respected me as a player and I respected him for being the Boss. He always talked to me about his football days because he knew I played football."
He was a vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1989-96 and entered six horses in the Kentucky Derby, failing to win with Steve's Friend (1977), Eternal Prince (1985), Diligence (1996), Concerto (1997), Blue Burner (2002) and the 2005 favorite, Bellamy Road.
To many, though, the Yankees and Steinbrenner were synonymous.
His fans applauded his win-at-all-costs style. His detractors blamed him for spiraling salaries and wrecking baseball's competitive balance.
Steinbrenner never managed a game, as Ted Turner once did when he owned the Atlanta Braves, but he controlled everything else. When he thought the club's parking lot was too crowded, Steinbrenner stood on the pavement - albeit behind a van, out of sight - and had a guard personally check every driver's credential.
Steinbrenner made no apologies for bombast and behavior, even when it cost him dearly.
He served two long suspensions: He was banned for 2 1/2 years for paying self-described gambler Howie Spira to dig up negative information about Winfield, and for 15 months following a guilty plea in federal court for conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions during the Watergate era.
"I haven't always done a good job, and I haven't always been successful," Steinbrenner said in 2005. "But I know that I have tried."
Steinbrenner negotiated a landmark $486 million, 12-year cable television contract with the Madison Square Garden Network in 1988 and launched the Yankees' own YES Network for the 2002 season.
All that cash, the Yankees later became the first team with a $200 million payroll, provoked anger and envy among other owners. After the 1982 season, Baltimore owner Edward Bennett Williams said Steinbrenner hoarded outfielders "like nuclear weapons."
When Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, he insisted he was too busy with his family's shipbuilding business to take an active role in running the club. As his partners soon found out, that wasn't quite the case.
"There is nothing quite so limited as being a limited partner of George Steinbrenner's," one of them, John McMullen, said later.
Overall, he changed managers nearly two dozen times and got rid of more than a dozen general managers. When a Yankees' public relations man went home to Ohio for the Christmas holiday, then returned in a hurry for a news conference to announce David Cone's re-signing, Steinbrenner fired him.
After Steinbrenner fired Berra as manager 16 games into the 1985 season, the Hall of Famer vowed he wouldn't go to back to Yankee Stadium for a game until Steinbrenner apologized 14 years later.
On one pressure-filled night in 1982, reliever Goose Gossage let loose and called Steinbrenner "the fat man." And in 1978, Martin said of Jackson and Steinbrenner: "The two of them deserve each other - one's a born liar, the other's convicted."
There was no denying the results, however.
When Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, they had gone eight seasons without finishing in first place, their longest drought since Babe Ruth & Co. won the team's first pennant in 1921.
Under Steinbrenner, the Yankees reached the World Series on 10 occasions and won three straight championships from 1998-2000. Those titles started a run in which the Yankees won the AL East crown every season through 2006.
"We've disagreed on more things than we agreed upon, but it never affected our personal relationship," commissioner Bud Selig said in 2005. "George has been a very charismatic, controversial owner. But look, he did what he set out to do - he restored the New York Yankees franchise."
Former AL president Gene Budig sometimes was on the wrong end of Steinbrenner's barbs. After he left office, Budig maintained a friendship with him and even advocated Steinbrenner getting into the Hall of Fame.
Steinbrenner liked to quote military figures and saw games as an extension of war. No surprise that in the tunnel leading from the Yankees' clubhouse to the field, he had a sign posted with a saying from Gen. Douglas MacArthur: "There is no substitute for victory."
Steinbrenner also had a soft side.
He sometimes read about high school athletes who had been injured and sent them money to go to college. He paid for the medical school expenses of Ron Karnaugh after the swimmer's father died during the opening ceremony at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Steinbrenner kept older friends from his football days on the payroll, had a way of rehiring those he had once fired and liked to give second chances to people who had fallen from favor, such as Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden.
"I'm really 95 percent Mr. Rogers," Steinbrenner said as he approached his 75th birthday, "and only 5 percent Oscar the Grouch."
Steinbrenner's beneficence extended beyond sports.
He pledged $1 million to a Florida orchestra in 1995 and mandated that $265,000 go to a pops series.
"I like Tchaikovsky as much as the next guy," he said, "but in this area I think people would rather hear pops concerts, and good ones."
While Steinbrenner grew up in the Cleveland area as a Yankees fan, his first passion was football. He fondly recalled watching the Browns on cold winter days and many believe the NFL's must-win-today mentality shaped how he approached all sports.
Steinbrenner was raised in a strict, no-nonsense household headed by his father, Henry.
The youngest of three children, Steinbrenner attended Culver Military Academy in Indiana. At Williams College, he was a track man and specialized in hurdles.
After that, he enlisted in the Air Force. Steinbrenner always was partial to the military and at Yankee Stadium, men and women in uniform were admitted free.
Following his discharge, he enrolled at Ohio State, pursuing a master's degree in physical education. It was his intention to go into coaching, but after working at a high school in Columbus and at Purdue and Northwestern, he turned to the business world.
Steinbrenner married Elizabeth Zieg in 1956 and they had four children.
In 1963, Steinbrenner purchased Kinsman Transit Co., a fleet of lake ore carriers, from his family and built a thriving company. Four years later, Steinbrenner and associates took over American Shipbuilding and revitalized the company, helping annual revenues triple.
It was in Cleveland that Steinbrenner met veteran baseball executive Gabe Paul and became involved with the group that bought the Yankees. With 13 partners, Steinbrenner purchased the team from CBS Inc.
He clearly liked the status it gave him.
"When you're a shipbuilder, nobody pays any attention to you," he said. "But when you own the New York Yankees ... they do, and I love it."
Steinbrenner quickly worked to reshape the team he loved as a boy. With that, the Bronx Zoo days began.
It was while he was under suspension that the Yankees ushered in baseball's new free-agent era by signing Catfish Hunter to a $3.75 million contract. Even though he was officially barred from participating in the daily operation of the team, no one believed that Steinbrenner was not involved in that deal.
Hunter was the first player to cash in on baseball's new economic structure and no owner plunged into the marketplace more than Steinbrenner. He saw it as an opportunity to assemble quality players and was one of the biggest buyers.
For the first five years of the free agency, Steinbrenner signed 10 players at an approximate cost of $38 million. Steinbrenner's $18.2 million, 10-year deal with Winfield was the richest free agent contract in history.
During those days, Yankee Stadium underwent a $100 million facelift and reopened in 1976. That year, the Yankees won the AL pennant, but got swept in the World Series by Cincinnati's Big Red Machine.
The Yankees surged back to win the World Series championship in 1977 and 1978 and the AL pennant in 1981.
While the Yankees' roster continually changed, so did the team's front office. Managers were hired and fired at a dizzying pace, with Martin often in the middle.
The one constant, for most of Steinbrenner's time, was winning.
Steinbrenner once was asked his formula for success. He said: "Work as hard as you ask others to. Strive for what you believe is right, no matter the odds. Learn that mistakes can be the best teacher."
In addition to his sons, Steinbrenner is survived by his wife, Joan, daughters Jennifer and Jessica and 13 grandchildren.
Updated July 13, 2010

Robert Leo Sheppard Passes Away at 99

Robert Leo Sheppard, 99, The revered public address announcer passed peacefully at his Long Island home in Baldwin with his wife, Mary, at his side on July 11, 2010.
His elegant introductions of stars from Joe DiMaggio to Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium for more than a half century earned him the nickname "The Voice of God". Sheppard started with the Yankees in 1951 and he last worked at Yankee Stadium late in the 2007 season, when he became ill with a bronchial infection.
He recorded a greeting to fans that was played at the original ballpark's final game on Sept. 21, 2008, and his audio recording still is used to introduce Jeter before each at-bat at home by the Yankees captain. When the team moved into new Yankee Stadium last year, it honored him by naming the media dining room after him.
The Yankees' lineup for Sheppard's first game on April 17, 1951, included DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Mize, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto. And the opponents that day, the Boston Red Sox, were led by Ted Williams. Sheppard became as much as a fixture in the Bronx ballpark as the familiar white stadium facade or Monument Park, tucked behind the blue outfield wall.   On May 7, 2000, after 50 years and two weeks on the job, the team honored him with "Bob Sheppard Day" and put a plaque in his honor in Monument Park. Fans gave Sheppard a standing ovation, and legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite read the inscription. Berra, Reggie Jackson and Don Larsen were among those who stood on the field during the ceremonies. "The voice of Yankee Stadium," read the plaque. "For half a century, he has welcomed generations of fans with his trademark greeting, 'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Yankee Stadium.'"
He also served as the stadium voice of the NFL's New York Giants from 1956-05, and for men's basketball and football at St. John's University, where he taught, for Army football and the Cosmos soccer team. He also announced for the American Football League's New York Titans at the Polo Grounds and the World Football League's New York Stars at Downing Stadium.
Baseball is what made him famous. Sheppard gave the ballpark its sound. He announced at 62 World Series games and a pair of All-Star games, and introduced more than 70 Hall of Famers across his career. It was one of them, Jackson, who dubbed Sheppard "The Voice of God." Sheppard's player introductions remained consistent throughout the decades, with Sheppard imbuing each name and number with a gravitas more in keeping with a coronation than a ballpark outing: "No. 7. Mickey Mantle. No. 7." Sheppard conducted himself with an understated and dignified delivery.
He employed perfect diction, befitting a man who considered his real job teaching speech at St. John's. He graduated from the school in 1932 and later worked there for more than 25 years. "A P.A. announcer is not a cheerleader, or a circus barker, or a hometown screecher," the epitome of the old-school style once said. "He's a reporter." Sheppard's favorite Yankee Stadium moment was Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, but his dulcet tones defined New York sports for the second half of the 20th century and beyond. He also was the stadium announcer for the "greatest football game ever played," the Baltimore Colts' 23-17 sudden-death victory over the Giants in 1958. He was on hand when Roger Maris hit home run No. 61, when Jackson hit three homers in a single World Series game , when the Giants finally reached the Super Bowl. He never missed an opening day at Yankee Stadium from 1951 until a hip injury sidelined him in 2006.
Sheppard, who followed the Giants across the Hudson River when they moved to New Jersey, received a ring after the team won its first Super Bowl in the 1986 season; it complemented his Yankees' World Series jewelry. While few might have recognized Sheppard in person, his voice was unmistakable. Once, while ordering a Scotch and soda at a bar, Sheppard watched as heads turned his way. He often read at Mass, and was subsequently greeted by parishioners noting he sounded exactly like the announcer at Yankee Stadium. "I am," he would reply. At his Yankees debut, the first name Sheppard announced was DiMaggio - Dom DiMaggio, the center fielder for the Red Sox. The Yankees' lineup included five Hall of Famers: Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Berra, Mize and Rizzuto; the Sox had three more, Williams, Bobby Doerr and Lou Boudreau. His favorite names to announce, in order, have been Mantle, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Salome Barojas, Jose Valdivielso and Alvaro Espinoza. He preferred the names of Latin players. "Anglo-Saxon names are not very euphonious," he said. "What can I do with Steve Sax? What can I do with Mickey Klutts?"
He was the quarterback of St. John's football team from 1928-31. The left-hander was a first baseman for the university in the springtime. Sheppard began his announcing career at an exhibition football game, which led to a job with the long defunct Brooklyn Dodgers of the All-American Conference i n 1947. When they folded a year later, he was hired by the football New York Yankees, who played at Yankee Stadium. Management with the baseball Yankees liked his approach, and Sheppard was on board for opening day in 1951. Even the players treated Sheppard with a degree of reverence. Mantle once said that every time Sheppard introduced him, he felt goose bumps. "Mickey, so did I," Sheppard responded quietly.
Sheppard, while proud of his work with the Yankees, also was known for his speaking as a church lector. He taught priests how to give sermons. "I electrified the seminary by saying seven minutes is long enough on a Sunday morning. Seven minutes. But I don't think they listened to me," he told The Associated Press in 2006. "The best-known speech in American history is the Gettysburg Address, and it's about four minutes long. Isn't that something?" He said one of his most challenging tasks as a teacher was when Jackson needed help with his Hall of Fame induction speech in 1993. Jackson planned to speak for 40 minutes, and Sheppard implored him to cut. "Too much you," Jackson said slowly, mimicking Sheppard's voice.
When Sheppard missed the 1997 division series, ending his streak of 121 consecutive postseason games worked at Yankee Stadium, he was replaced by Jim Hall, his longtime sub. Paul Olden took over when the Yankees moved to the new ballpark in 2009.
In addition to his wife, Sheppard is survived by sons Paul and Christopher, daughters Barbara and Mary, five grandchildren and at least nine great-grandchildren. Private visitation for family and friends will be held Tuesday, 7/13/10 and Wednesday, 7/14/10 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm at the Fullerton Funeral Home, Inc., 769 Merrick Road, Baldwin, New York ( Mass of Christian Burial will be on Thursday, 7/15/10, 10:45am at St. Christopher's Church in Baldwin. Private Interment at Long Island National Cemetery.

George Steinbrenner dead at 80, leaves winning legacy

George Steinbrenner dead at 80, leaves winning legacy


Yankees owner George Steinbrenner waves
He was revered and reviled, ridiculed and respected.
But though he could be contradictory and his actions often polarized the baseball world, George M. Steinbrenner III always displayed a single-minded drive when it came to one thing: Winning.
Critics and fans alike knew him simply as "The Boss."

Thirty-seven years after he bought the Yankees from CBS for $10 million, turned them into a $1.6-billion empire and restored them to glory as the winningest sports franchise ever, Steinbrenner died Tuesday at a hospital in Tampa following a massive heart attack at his home Monday night.
Steinbrenner had celebrated his 80th birthday July 4. His death comes two days after longtime Yankee Stadium announcer Bob Sheppard died at age 99 at his home in Baldwin.
"It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. Steinbrenner III announces his passing," a statement released Tuesday by longtime Steinbrenner publicist Howard Rubenstein said, adding: "He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again."
Funeral arrangements will be private, though there will be a public memorial service with details to be announced later, the statement said.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in a prepared statement, said: "He has left an indelible legacy on the Yankees, on baseball, and on our city, and he leaves us in the only way that would be appropriate: as a reigning world champion."
Sen. Charles Schumer called Steinbrenner "a true New York icon" and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, "George's single-minded drive in the pursuit of excellence and his devotion to family inspired people far beyond the baseball diamond."
Slugger Darryl Strawberry, who made his name with the Mets and was sidetracked by drug issues before Steinbrenner gave him the chance to resurrect his career with the Yankees from 1995-99, told ESPN Tuesday morning: "I think the thing I learned from him more than anything is to never quit . . . When I got knocked down, he was there to pick me up."
After building his fortune in the shipbuilding industry, Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees from CBS in 1973 using less than $200,000 of his own money in the $10-million deal, according to a book on Steinbrenner by longtime Daily News sportswriter Bill Madden.
Steinbrenner turned the team into the most valuable franchise in pro sports history.
Along the way, he returned the Yankees to the glory days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. The franchise won 11 American League pennants and seven World Series titles during his reign.
The latest title was last season, the Yankees' first in their new multi-billion-dollar stadium - a modern version of the fabled "House that Ruth Built." It was constructed across the street from the old Yankee Stadium and considered by some "The House that George Built."
"Owning the Yankees is like owning the 'Mona Lisa,' " Steinbrenner once said.
Steinbrenner pledged to be an absentee owner after he bought the team. He proved anything but. He decried free agency, claiming it could ruin the game - then went out and signed pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter and slugger Reggie Jackson to multi-million-dollar deals in the 1970s en route to building the Yankees into a World Series champion. He continued to authorize expensive free-agent signings even after relinquishing day-to-day control of the team in recent years to sons Hank and Hal, the Yankees signing Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira in recent years.
The open checkbook policy led rival Boston Red Sox officials to dub the Yankees under Steinbrenner "The Evil Empire." During the course of his ownership reign, Steinbrenner, who was known to quote Gen. Douglas MacArthur, found himself depicted in cartoons wearing a World War I German army helmet and addressed as "Gen. von Steingrabber." He was also lampooned in episodes of "Seinfeld."
In his first 23 seasons as owner, he changed managers 20 times, firing Billy Martin five times. He also changed the general manager of the team 11 times in 30 years. He was suspended as owner of the franchise twice.
But Steinbrenner was often heralded behind the scenes for his tireless philanthropic work and the success of the franchise includes the launching of the acclaimed YES Network.
Bloomberg said flags in City Hall Plaza would be lowered to half-staff Tuesday in honor of Steinbrenner. And chances are Major League Baseball will feature a tribute to Steinbrenner at the All-Star Game Tuesday evening in Anaheim.
Fans also remembered Steinbrenner fondly for making the Yankees a winner.
In Times Square, Michael Banks, 42, of Selden, a 17-year veteran officer with the NYPD, said, "Steinbrenner was a stern, direct guy. He got to the point to get the job done."
Nick Falco, 30, of Ridgewood, N.J., wore a Yankees cap as he grabbed a meal in Times Square. "He was a visionary businessman and there was no one like him," he said. "He was a stalwart in the movement of sports capitalism."
Although a Yankees fan, Falco admitted some of Steinbrenner's actions rubbed him the wrong way. "He was a little too driven to win at any cost," he said.
But Falco also said he believed Steinbrenner had a deep respect and passion for the sport. "He is a great baseball lover and he would not do anything unthinkable to hurt the game or his team."
With Jim Baumbach and Gary Dymski


July 13, 2010


It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. 
Steinbrenner III announces his passing. He passed away this morning 
in Tampa, Fla., at age 80.
"He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost he was 
devoted to his entire family - his beloved wife, Joan; his sisters, 
Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer,  Jessica 
and Hal; and all of his grandchildren."
"He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a 
great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again." 
At the time of his passing, Mr. Steinbrenner was celebrating his 
37th anniversary as Principal Owner of the New York Yankees in 
2010. Under his leadership, the Yankees became the leading 
sports franchise and the most highly recognized sports 
brand in the world. 

On January 3, 1973, a group of businessmen formed and 
led by Mr. Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees 
from CBS for a net price of $8.7 million. It took just five years 
for his aggressive leadership to turn the organization back into 
World Champions. In the 37 years he was Principal Owner of the 
club, the Yankees posted a Major League-best .566 winning percentage 
(3,364-2,583-3 record) while winning 11 American League pennants 
and seven World Championships (also the most in the Majors). 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Baker remembers Yankees' Sheppard - by David Murphy

Baker remembers Yankees' Sheppard

Soon after Dan Baker was named the Phillies' public-address announcer in 1972, he travelled to Yankee Stadium to observe one of the All-Stars in his field. Yankees P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard was entering his third decade in the booth, where he would remain until 2007, and was widely considered to be the dean of his profession.
Yesterday, after hearing that Sheppard had passed away at the age of 99, Baker reflected on the lessons he learned from the well-regarded veteran.
"He was the consummate professional," said Baker, who is in his 39th season as the Phillies' P.A. announcer. "He was the perfect elocutionist. He set the standard, to me, for the industry."
Sheppard, a gentle man who spoke with the sonorous authority of a giant, died at his Long Island home with his wife, Mary, at his side, the Yankees said.
Sheppard started with the Yankees in April 1951 and worked his last game in September 2007, when he became ill.
His welcoming statement, "Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman, and welcome to Yankee Stadium," was known throughout baseball.
He announced 62 World Series games and a pair of All-Star Games, and introduced more than 70 Hall of Famers. It was Reggie Jackson who dubbed Sheppard "The Voice of God." *
- David Murphy
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Longtime Yanks announcer Sheppard dies - By Marty Noble /

Longtime Yanks announcer Sheppard dies

Man known affectionately as 'Voice of God' was 99 years old

The gentle, refined and pious man whose voice afforded the Yankees' former home a dignified distinction for nearly five decades has passed away. Bob Sheppard, who introduced Joe DiMaggio, George W. Bush, Mickey Mantle, Elmer Fudd, and Derek Jee-tah and narrated the touchstone NFL playoff, died at his home in Baldwin, N.Y., on Sunday at age 99, nearly three years after his final call in the Bronx.
A rich, mellow voice and precise elocution made Sheppard a primary component of the Yankee Stadium experience. For generations, his "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen..." was the greeting that mattered most. Scooter, Yogi, Mickey, Whitey, Thurman, Reggie, Goose, Donnie, Bernie and Jee-tah were occupied, preparing for the day's event. They didn't nod or wave. It was left to Sheppard to greet the masses. "...and welcome to Yankee Stadium."
His words, deliberately delivered and echoing, served as a baseball "On your mark." Once Sheppard had spoken, the game could begin. He did for elocution what Loretta Young did for elegance, Benny Goodman did for swing, what Rogers and Astaire did for dance and what Mantle did for switch-hitting. Sheppard was from then, and he extended "then" so that it could be appreciated into the 21st century.
For that and other reasons, New York Times columnist George Vescey once identified him as a "civic treasure." That Sheppard worked Giants football games -- "Tackled by Robustelli and Katkavage" still resonates -- and St. John's basketball games and later did introductions for the Yankees' YES Network enhanced his metropolitan-area profile.
What Yankee Stadium visitor didn't mimic his unique delivery? The backyard and schoolyard fantasy games of young boys in Yankees' vast kingdom routinely featured introductions with the cadence and tenor of Robert Leo Sheppard, the man who made every syllable count and made a visit to his workplace different from an outing to any other sports venue in the land.
He made us listen and taught us to appreciate subtle sounds in a setting that often offered only jock-jam cacophony. Now, he is silent, and we are at loss for words -- his words.
It was no specific illness, but natural causes that took Sheppard from us. He had been ill and, as a result, too frail and weak to work in 2008. He regained weight and strength, but not enough to visit the successor to The House That Ruth Built. The new Stadium is graced, though, by a press dining area that bears his name and by his voice each time Jeter bats.
At the request of the Yankees' captain, a recording of Sheppard's "Derek Jeet-tah" is used.
Sheppard referred to Jeter's request as "one of the greatest compliments I have received in my career of announcing," and wryly added, "The fact that he wanted my voice every time he came to bat is a credit to his good judgment and my humility."
Sheppard's first game as the Yankee Stadium public address announcer came April 17, 1951. The first player he introduced was DiMaggio -- Dom, the Red Sox center fielder. His debut coincided with Mantle's big-league debut. (Coincidentally, the two also shared a birthday, Oct. 20.)
"Mickey arrived with slightly more fanfare," Sheppard liked to say.
Almost all of them did, from Mize to Mo, Raschi to Rodriguez and Stengel to Steinbrenner. But before his time came, Sheppard, too, had gained celebrity, unlike others who had similar responsibilities in other ballparks. He became, for the Yankees, what Ed McMahon became for Johnny Carson.
"I'd bat ninth just to hear him say my name," Reggie Jackson once said. "When he says "Forty-four," it's a higher number."
After hearing his name Sheppard-dized, Roy Smalley stated, "I couldn't have said it better myself."
Red Sox second base Jerry Remy decided no player was a bona fide big leaguer if he hadn't been introduced by Sheppard, and Rusty Staub identified Sheppard's voice as "the tones of dignity." More recently, Moises Alou lamented never having played in the Bronx. "I want to hear him say my name," Alou said in 2008, hoping Sheppard would work a Mets-Yankees Interleague game. Sheppard had been advised the proper pronunciation was "Ah-LOW," and was prepared to alter the public's pronunciation, as he had done with Tony PEH-rez in the 1976 World Series.
For that matter, it was Sheppard who taught the world the proper pronunciation of the Di-MAH-gio. To him, the short A was comparable to fingernails on a blackboard.
Sheppard was a tall, slender man who, like DiMaggio, preferred a blue suit and white shirt. He was distinguished before his hair turned white. In his later years, he favored solid-color LaCoste sweaters and ivy caps. His dress was as meticulous as his speech.
He was a striking figure on the dance floor. He and his second wife, Mary, occasionally attended the "Indoor Outing," a dinner and dancing event staged annually in the fall by the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America at one of the city's ballparks. When they danced, others did not; they watched, instead. The Sheppards moved like Champions.
The BBWAA honored Sheppard for his long and meritorious service to the game at its annual winter dinner in 1998. When he reached the lectern, he stood, arms extended, palms facing up. He had the appearance of a religious figure. The reception afforded him was long and heartfelt.
Players suggested Sheppard's announcements sounded like sermons, particularly those in which unruly fans were gently admonished. Jackson took it a step further. After Sheppard had ventured to Fenway Park and surprised all by replacing Sherm Feller and introducing Jackson, the Yankees Hall of Famer said he had been introduced by "The voice of God."
Sheppard wasn't altogether comfortable with such well-intended comparisons. He was a devout Roman Catholic who celebrated mass daily when his health allowed.
Some did consider him a kind of deity. Oscar Gamble once pointed out that National League players didn't know what they were missing.
"We got the DH over here," Gamble said. "And that man upstairs." His reference was not to George Steinbrenner or a supreme being, but to Sheppard.
Perhaps no name benefited more from Sheppard's delivery than AH-scar Gamble, unless it was Ah-to VELL-ez or Looo-EESe Ar-r-r-royo. Even Mickey Klutz sounded better. Sheppard enjoyed introducing Mantle, Rocky Colavito, Dave Righetti and most Hispanic names.
Mantle once said, "Each time Bob Sheppard introduced me at Yankee Stadium, I got shivers up my spine." And Sheppard said to him, 'So did I.'"
Salome BAR-oh-has and Shigetoshi Hasegawa were his particular favorites. Sadly, William Van Landingham never pitched in the old Stadium.
Asked for a list of his favorite names, Sheppard did more than accommodate. He wrote this verse:
     There are certain names that go over well,
     Like Pena, Ramos, Carrasquel,
     With liquid sounds so panoramic.
     And strangely, they all are Hispanic.
     Aurelio, Hipolito, Cecilio, Domingo
     Have a lovelier sound than American lingo.
     What native name could I ever tell so
     Musically, as Valdivielso?
     And no native name could ever show us
     The splendor of Salome Barojas.
"He adds elegance to the game," Tim McCarver said. "The best words to describe his introductions are 'eloquent' and 'elegant.'"
Sheppard was born Oct. 20, 1910 -- 21 years to the day before Mantle -- in Ridgewood in Queens, N.Y. He graduated from Saint John's Preparatory School in Brooklyn in 1928 and from St. John's College in 1932. He was president of his senior class and earned seven varsity letters at St. John's, four as a left-handed quarterback and a first baseman. Upon graduation, he played semi-pro football on Long Island on weekends.
He earned his Master's Degree in speech from Columbia University and later served two years in the United States Navy during World War II, commanding shipboard gunnery crews in the Pacific Fleet.
His announcing career began in the late '40s when he volunteered to work a charity football game in Freeport, N.Y. That job led to positions with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the All-American Conference, the New York football Yankees, baseball's Yankees and the NFL Giants. His work with the Yankees might have begun a year earlier, in 1950, but his job as the chairman of the speech department at John Adams High School in Queens conflicted with the Yankees' schedule of mostly afternoon games. His "other job" responsibilities were accommodated the following year.
It was as the Giants' PA announcer that Sheppard worked the NFL championship game between the Giants and Colts in December, 1958, widely considered the game most responsible for the explosion in popularity of the NFL.
Traffic before and after Giants home games played in the Meadowlands persuaded Sheppard to end his football duties after the Giants' final game of the 2005-2006 season. His final baseball game came Sept. 5, 2007 -- Ben Broussard of the Mariners was the last player he introduced -- though his official retirement didn't come until Nov. 27, 2009. Sheppard's passion for football belied his gentle nature, but it was evident. He was once an on-air guest of Phil Rizzuto during a rain delay at Yankee Stadium in the early '70s. Rizzuto, wearing his pinstripes on his sleeve, as always, said, "Well, Bob, you've been present for so many great moments here at Yankee Stadium. Which one has the been the biggest for you?" Rizzuto was stunned when Sheppard cited the Colts-Giants game.
Sheppard also worked games for New York Titans of the AFL at the Polo Grounds, the New York Stars of the WFL at Randall's Island and five Army-Navy football games, all of which is not to suggest he wasn't a baseball fan. He treasured his relationships with the Yankees greats and the lesser-knowns who passed through the Bronx, and generally enjoyed the company of baseball people.
Sheppard is survived by his wife, Mary, two sons, two daughters, four grandchildren and nine great grandchilden.
Sheppard's work was recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame, which displays his encased microphone, and by St. John's University, where he also taught and which annually awards the Sheppard Trophy to an outstanding student-athlete. His celebrity also reached the cinema -- he appeared in four movies -- and television. His voice was heard in three episodes of "Seinfeld."
Though he made his mark via his introductions of batting orders and lineup revisions, Sheppard's poetry -- eloquent tributes to players and preambles to ceremonies at the Stadium -- made him more special and admired. Among scores of poems, he wrote were ones about DiMaggio, Mantle, Roger Maris, Thurman Munson, the now-razed Yankee Stadium and a tribute to Hispanic names.
He wrote the eulogies he delivered, declining on at least one occasion to use something Steinbrenner had provided. Sheppard suggested he might leave the Stadium if ordered to use The Boss' words. Steinbrenner later praised his eulogy for Dick Howser.
Sheppard was a man of conviction who had a strong sense of what was proper. In the mid-'90s, he had been in early discussions about writing a book about his Yankees' experiences. But when the publisher suggested that anecdotes which Sheppard considered unusable would be essential, Sheppard flatly declined to work on a book and didn't revisit the possibility.
When the New York baseball writers considered roasting him a few years earlier, he had expresssed reservations. No one was quite sure how to roast such a revered figure. But when Sheppard asked, "Would my daughter feel comfortable if she attended? ... She's a nun," he was told the roast might get a tad improper. He politely but firmly declined.
So few people in the game are like Sheppard. Paul Olden has replaced him in the booth, but not in the Yankees' pantheon. More than any club in the game, the Yankees know how difficult it is to replace a legend. But they do salute their heroes: Sheppard has a plaque in Monument Park with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, et al. And as further tribute, there are the words Jackson spoke in 1985 after the death of long-time clubhouse manager Pete Sheehy. They're quite apropos for Sheppard as well:
"There have been a handful a great Yankees. He belongs. They shouldn't wear black arm bands. They should remove one pinstripe."
Poignant and well said, but had Sheppard said it, it would have sounded better.
Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.