Sheppard to miss Opening Day

Sheppard to miss Opening Day

Bob Sheppard, the Yankees' public address announcer since 1951, will miss the final opener in Yankee Stadium's history as he recovers from health issues that have limited his workload over recent months.

Dubbed "The Voice of Yankee Stadium," Sheppard missed last year's American League Division Series in October due to a bronchial infection, as well as selected games leading up to the postseason. During his absence, Sheppard's longtime backup Jim Hall will fill in, beginning with Monday's season opener against the Blue Jays.

"We hope to have [Sheppard] back by the month of June," Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said.

Sheppard has kept his actual date of birth a mystery, but he is believed to be in his late nineties. As synonymous with Yankee Stadium as Monument Park, the 2008 campaign marks Sheppard's 58th anniversary as the Yankees' public address announcer. He began his tenure with the club on April 17, 1951, the only instance in which Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle shared an Opening Day outfield.

Sheppard has worked approximately 4,500 baseball games during his career, including 121 consecutive postseason contests (1951 through 2006) and 62 games in 22 World Series. Sheppard was also the voice of football's New York Giants for 50 seasons until his retirement after the 2005 season.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.