Derek Jeter: "He’s as much a part of this organization as any player. Even though the players change year in and year out, he was the one constant at Yankee Stadium. He was part of the experience.”
Jorge Posada said Sheppard was a big reason players never forget their first at-bat.
“That first at-bat at Yankee Stadium, you don’t forget it,” Jorge Posada said. “He’s part of that.”
Mariano Rivera called Sheppard’s voice “irreplaceable” and that even in the tense circumstances he’d enter the game under, he still very much heard the sound of what Reggie Jackson once called “the voice of God.”
“You can’t omit that. You always hear that voice – even if you don’t want to. You’d recognize that voice and would hear it, because it was such a strong and tremendous voice.”
Sheppard’s mantra was always to be “clear, concise, correct,” though there were a few, very few, exceptions.
When Jorge Posada pinch ran for Wade Boggs in Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS, Sheppard pronounced his name “Po-sah-Do,” instead of “Po-sah-dah.”
“Derek started calling me ‘Sado’ after that,’” the catcher said today.
Posada recalled his next encounter with Sheppard, known for approaching new players to check on name pronunciations.
“He came down and asked me if I preferred ‘George’ or ‘Jorge,’” Posada said. “Then he asked me if I preferred ‘Posado’ or ‘Posada,’ and he started laughing.”
Leave it to long-time trainer Gene Monahan, though, for the best Sheppard remembrance, telling how "four or five times" a season the public address announcer would stop by.
"He would poke his head around the door, wave and call over me or Steve [Donohue] and very politely ask, ‘May I have a few lozenges?' He was of those guys that knew how to say that word. It took me 20 years; people can’t say that word. But he had it perfectly, of course. As he did with everything else.”