Today is the 60th anniversary of two noteworthy and unforgettable debuts: those of Mickey Mantle and Bob Sheppard.
On April 17, 1951, Sheppard, the former star quarterback who had done public address announcing on football games, worked his first game behind the microphone at Yankee Stadium. The first batter he introduced was Dom DiMaggio of the Red Sox. Years later, Sheppard confessed that he nearly called the batter “Vince,” another DiMaggio brother.
Of course, Sheppard did announce the batter correctly, and kept doing it through 2007, when he was forced to stop doing the public address announcements because of illness. He died last summer at 99, having worked 121 consecutive postseason games.
Mantle, who shared a birthday with Sheppard, played rightfield and batted third (ahead of Joe DiMaggio). He went 1-for-4 that day, hitting a single in the sixth against starting pitcher Billy Wright during the Yankees’ 5-0 win.