Yankees lose a legend: Beloved broadcaster John Sterling announces retirement

The iconic Yankees broadcaster John Sterling

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Every single avid fan of the New York Yankees has a cherished memory tied to the iconic voice of John Sterling. For over three decades, the legendary broadcaster has been the soundtrack to Yankees baseball, his distinctive play-by-play calls etching themselves into the lore of the franchise. On Monday afternoon, the 85-year-old announced his retirement, bringing an end to his illustrious 35-year career as the radio voice of the team.

Hours after the initial report of his retirement, John Sterling confirmed to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com that he was ready to turn the page on a new chapter of his life. In his own words, the iconic Yankees broadcaster shared, “I am a very blessed human being. I have been able to do what I wanted, broadcasting for 64 years. As a little boy growing up in New York as a Yankees fan, I was able to broadcast the Yankees for 36 years. It’s all to my benefit, and I leave very, very happy. I look forward to seeing everyone again on Saturday.”

John Sterling‘s reflective comments underscored his deep appreciation for the opportunity to turn his childhood dream into a remarkable career that spanned over six decades. With a sense of contentment, the broadcaster announced his retirement, ready to close this grand chapter and embark on the next phase of his life.

Yankees send a statement about John Sterling’s retirement

The iconic Yankees broadcaster John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman
CBS

The retirement of John Sterling marks the end of an era not just for the New York Yankees, but for baseball broadcasting as a whole. After an impressive 64-year career in the industry, the iconic voice has chosen this moment to step away from the broadcast booth, leaving behind a lasting legacy that will be deeply felt by generations of loyal Yankees fans.

The New York Post reported that Sterling was offered a chance to work in a reduced role, but he has opted to walk away completely. In recent seasons, Sterling had already taken on a more limited schedule, as health concerns prevented him from traveling during the full 162-game regular season.

In a statement, the Yankees organization acknowledged the deep connection Sterling had forged with their fanbase over the decades. “Fans find a certain comfort in the daily rhythms of baseball. Day in and day out, season after season, and city after city, John Sterling used his seat in the broadcast booth to bring Yankees fans the heartbeat of the game, employing an orotund voice and colorful personality that were distinctly, unmistakably his own. John informed and entertained, and he exemplified what it means to be a New Yorker with an unapologetic and boisterous style that exuded his passion for baseball, broadcasting and the New York Yankees.”

Yankees set to honor John Sterling this weekend

According to Yahoo Sports, the Yankees will honor Sterling’s unparalleled contributions in a pregame ceremony ahead of Saturday’s matchup against the Rays, a fitting tribute to a man who has been synonymous with Yankees baseball for generations. Initially scheduled to cover the series, Sterling’s absence will mark a significant transition for fans who have grown accustomed to his distinctive calls and unwavering presence.

Who is going to replace John Sterling?

Replacing a legend like Sterling is no easy task, but WFAN has named Justin Shackil, 37, and Emmanuel Berbari, 24, as his successors. Together, they bring a youthful energy to the broadcast, collectively 24 years younger than Sterling himself. However, their appointment does not guarantee a permanent position, leaving the door open for future changes in the broadcast booth.

John Sterling’s tenure coincided with some of the Yankees’ most memorable moments, including the dynasty years led by Derek Jeter and the triumphant 2009 season with CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez at the helm. His iconic home run calls, from “Bern, baby, Bern!” for Bernie Williams to “A thrilla from Godzilla” for Hideki Matsui, have etched themselves into Yankees lore, adding color and excitement to every game.

Despite occasional criticisms of his style, John Sterling’s dedication to the craft was unwavering, akin to a modern-day Lou Gehrig, as he called an impressive 5,060 consecutive games over three decades. His commitment to the Yankees extended beyond the booth, as evidenced by his attendance at every game except for two, a testament to his passion and professionalism.

John Sterling’s decision to retire was not made lightly, with discussions reportedly ongoing for some time before the official announcement. While he had previously been hesitant to confirm his retirement, Sterling expressed his contentment with the decision, looking forward to the next chapter of his life.

Yankees fans honors John Sterling’s legacy

The iconic Yankees broadcaster John Sterling
The Boston Globe

Upon hearing the news of John Sterling’s retirement, MLB fans flooded social media with emotional tributes to the radio icon. Many shared fond memories of Sterling’s signature home run calls and expressed deep gratitude for the decades of indelible moments he provided to generations of Yankees supporters.

On Reddit, some Yankees fans said they were “grateful” for the countless memories Sterling created, while on X.com, the Yankee faithful showered the legendary announcer with grateful messages about his time broadcasting the team’s games.

From his early days broadcasting the Atlanta Braves and Hawks to his legendary tenure with the Yankees, Sterling’s distinctive style and unwavering dedication have left an indelible mark on baseball broadcasting. His departure marks the end of an era but leaves behind a legacy that will be cherished by Yankees fans for years to come. As the curtain falls on Sterling’s storied career, baseball enthusiasts everywhere express their gratitude for the memories and moments he has shared throughout his remarkable journey.

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