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NEW YORK (AP) — When Derek Jeter plays his final game at Yankee Stadium, Bob Sheppard will exit along with the New York Yankees captain.
Nicknamed "The Voice of God" for his stylish, elegant introductions, Sheppard was the ballpark's public address announcer from April 1951 until September 2007. Before Sheppard took ill, Jeter asked Sheppard to record his introduction, which has been used when the Yankees captain walked to the plate for home games.
"He's as important as any player that's been here. He's part of the experience," Jeter said after Monday night's win over the Baltimore Orioles. "Part of the experience of Yankee Stadium is Bob Sheppard's voice."
Sheppard debuted for the Yankees on April 17, 1951, and worked his final game on Sept. 5, 2007. He missed the 2007 AL division series because of a bronchial infection, ending his streak of 121 consecutive postseason games at Yankee Stadium. He was replaced by Jim Hall, his longtime sub, and Paul Olden took over when the Yankees moved to the new ballpark in 2009.
Sheppard announced his retirement after the 2009 season and died in July 2010 at age 99.
Jeter, the Yankees' 40-year-old captain, is likely to play his final home game Thursday night, since New York probably will miss the playoffs.
He said he had gone to Sheppard with the idea of the recording.
"That's the only voice I'd heard growing up, and that's the only voice I wanted to hear when I was announced at home," Jeter said. "And fortunately he agreed to do it."
Recordings of Sheppard are used to welcome fans to Yankee Stadium at times, but Jeter's introduction will be its last in-game airing.
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