NEW YORK - The silence was deafening, even before the full house at Yankee Stadium went silent with each run scored by the Cleveland Indians tonight.
For the mellifluous voice of Bob Sheppard, the public address announcer who's calls of the lineups in over a half century of Fall Classics at the Ballpark in the Bronx did not greet the faithful tonight when the Yankees hosted Cleveland in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
Sheppard was absent due to a broncial infection. So, for the first time in 122 Yankees' post-season home games, someone other that The Voice manned to P.A. mike.
Sheppard's phenomenal run, which included 62 home games during 22 of the Yankees' World Series appearances, was as familiar an October fixture in the Bronx as Yankees' pinstripes.
A combination of eloquence, class and precision, Sheppard chronicled the Series appearances of the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield and Tony Gwynn, to name but a few Hall of Famers.
Sheppard, in his 57th season as the Yankees' public address announcer, began his postseason streak on Oct. 4, 1951, in Game 1 of the World Series against the New York Giants. That debut followed by one day the Giants' famed playoff game victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in which Bobby Thomson hit the "shot heard 'round the world" off the Dodgers' Ralph Branca.