Bob Sheppard, the iconic voice of the Yankees for more than 50 years has passed away early this morning, ESPN reports.  Sheppard was the Yankees public address announcer at all home games from 1951 to late in the 2007 season when he needed to stop due to health concerns.  Sheppard initially wanted to return to the booth at sometime in the future, but officially retired last year after it became clear his health would no longer allow him to.

Sheppard’s voice can still be heard at every home Yankee game.  Captain Derek Jeter uses a recorded introduction from Sheppard each time he comes to the plate.  Expect that there will be some sort of tribute to the Yankees this season, perhaps a pre-game celebration when the team returns home from the all-star break and a uniform or hat tribute also.

On a personal note, I will never forget hearing that iconic voice when I was a 12 year-old kid at Yankee games.  Sheppard truly was the voice of the Yankee game for several generations of Yankees fans who grew up going to see the Bronx Bombers.  Reggie Jackson famously called Sheppard’s voice “the voice of God.”  He will truly be missed.