07/11/10 4:50 PM ET
Sheppard has special place in Yankees lore
Girardi, players weigh in on late broadcaster's contribution
By Bob Sherwin / Special to MLB.com
"It was always something you never thought you deserved, never thought it would ever happen," Monahan said. "When it did, and you never thought it was coming, you think, 'my gosh, Bob Sheppard just said my name.' It kind of gets you, makes you sting a little inside."Sheppard was never one to ask for favors, such as autographs or have his friends meet the players. He respected the players' job and he remained professional at his. But there were a few times, Monahan said, when he would ask a favor. "Five or six times a year, he would poke his head in, and very politely ask, 'May I have a lozenge?' He was one of those guy who knew how to say that word. He had it perfect, like he did with everything else. That's the only thing he ever asked us for. "He was the most polite man I have ever met." Sheppard made it a habit of approaching any player who might have had a difficult name in inquire about how they pronounce it. But when Jorge Posada played his first game for the Yankees in 1995, Sheppard committed an error. "He called me Posado," Posada said. "So Derek started calling me Sado after that." Someone must have told Sheppard, so he visited Posada the next day to make sure of the pronunciation and to clarify that he preferred Jorge to George. "His voice, there was nobody better," Posada said. "People look forward to going to Yankee Stadium to hear that voice. Moving to a new stadium, not having him there was weird." Mariano Rivera was another longtime player who came up during that mid-90s era. He is a player with enormous concentration, yet not so much that he wasn't aware of Sheppard's call. "That voice is irreplaceable. It was outstanding. We are going to miss that," Rivera said. "You always heard that voice, even if you don't want to. It was such a strong voice. "My prayers will be with his family, his wife and that God will bring peace to him." Andy Pettitte came to the organization without having much knowledge of Sheppard and what he meant to the tradition. But as he was coming through the Minor League system, he got it. "You start realizing what he meant to the organization, how important he was," Pettitte said. "You definitely pay attention. He had a great voice, that's for sure. It's a tough loss for the organization. "When you think about all the great players he announced, when you think about the Yankees and the old stadium, there is no doubt you think about him." His voice now has been silenced. But it will go on, in our heads and in every Jeter at-bat at the ballpark. "It's unfortunate," Jeter added. "Everyone knows what he meant to this organization. It's sad to see."
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.