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?"
But it wasn't the players who made Sheppard's work special.
"Mr. Sheppard could read Eminem lyrics and make them sound like the Magna Carta," Clybe Haberman wrote in The New York Times five years ago.
While he didn't like to reveal his age, it could be pinpointed because 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 in 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, four grandchildren and at least nine great-grandchildren.
A wake will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, with the funeral Thursday in Baldwin.
Revered Yankees Announcer Bob Sheppard Dies At 99
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.