Speaking of definitive, although I consider myself pretty good when it comes to obits, I also know when to defer to a piece of writing that can't be topped. Hence, Tom Verducci's appreciation of Sheppard at SI.com Monday. A sample:
There was a game back in the 1980s at the stadium when the bullpen gate was left ajar after a pitching change had been made. The umpires were vainly trying to secure the attention of anybody in the bullpen to close the gate, which was actually part of the outfield wall in left-center field, so the game could resume. Sheppard caught on to what was happening.
Suddenly, in a rare in-game moment when he spoke into the public address microphone for anything other than a player introduction, Sheppard announced in that proper cadence of his, "Will someone . . . in the bullpen area . . . please close . . . the bullpen gate . . .Thank you."
It was closed immediately, lest the risk of a lightning bolt or two. Only Sheppard could turn such a prosaic moment into something approaching divine providence. I was in the press box that night and was struck by the commanding nature of his voice. The stadium actually came to a hush. His voice did, in that Charlton Heston, The Ten Commandments kind of cinematic way, really sound like the voice of God coming down from on high.
It doesn't get much better than that, does it? Either the writing, or the announcing. ◙