Voice of Yankee Stadium to Miss Opening Day

The new Yankee Stadium won't sound nearly the same on opening day.

Bob Sheppard, the longtime voice of the New York Yankees, will miss the start of the season while he continues to recover from a bronchial infection.

Now in his late 90s, Sheppard became the public-address announcer at the old Yankee Stadium in 1951. He missed last season because of his illness.

"I will not be able to be at Yankee Stadium for the series with the Cubs or opening Day," Sheppard said in a statement Tuesday. "My personal physician advised me to wait until I am ready. I am looking forward to doing games in the new stadium."

The Yankees host exhibition games with the Chicago Cubs on Friday night and Saturday. The regular-season opener is April 16 against Cleveland.

His resonant tones have called out names from Joe DiMaggio to Mickey Mantle to Derek Jeter over the years, and Reggie Jackson gave Sheppard the nickname "the voice of God."

Sheppard made his debut at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 1951, when New York beat Boston 5-0 on opening day.

For the final game at the old park last year, he recorded a greeting to fans and the introduction of the Yankees' starting lineup.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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