John Sterling on Immediate Retirement: 'I’ve Been on the Air Since 1960, and I’m Tired'

Yankees radio voice John Sterling tells SI he should've retired before the season started
Aug 26, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling in the press box during
Aug 26, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling in the press box during / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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John Sterling, who has been the radio voice of the New York Yankees since 1989, has called his last game.

The Athletic's Andrew Marchand broke the news on Monday that the 85-year-old Sterling was planning to announce his retirement this Saturday, effective immediately. The Yankees later confirmed the news and Sterling, who has become known for his individualized home run calls and ending games with "Theeeeeee Yankees win," released a statement as well.

I briefly spoke to Sterling shortly after his retirement announcement became official.

SI: When did you make this decision?

Sterling: I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I should’ve done it March 1. All during the winter, October, November, December, January, February, March, I lived the greatest life and I rued the beginning of the season. I should’ve quit then.

But that's beside the point. That's over and done with. I couldn’t be happier. I’m thrilled. I can’t wait to get off the air. I’ve been on the air since Feb. 1, 1960 and I’m tired. I wanna do what I want like I did from October through March, and I will.

SI: How much Yankees baseball will you watch in retirement?

Sterling: That’s my life. I’m gonna watch and listen to 162 Yankees games, 162 Mets games, watch all the games on ESPN and Turner and MLB Network. And as you know, right now hockey and basketball playoffs are beginning. I have the best life of all time. I love living where I’m living. I really do. I have a great place hanging over the Hudson, so everything is good in my life and I can’t wait to quit.

The conundrum, of course, is my voice, I don’t know why, has never gone backwards. So I can do the games easy. But I’ve filled my cup, as they say.

SI: Yankees fans are celebrating you on social media. I know you aren't on social media. Are you aware of the love you're getting and any message you want to give the fans?

Sterling: Thank you. Thank you. It’s wonderful. It makes me feel good.

Sterling called 5,060 consecutive Yankees games, beginning in 1989 until July of 2019. Prior to becoming the voice of the Yankees, Sterling called games for the Atlanta Braves, as well as the Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets and New York Islanders


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Jimmy Traina

JIMMY TRAINA

Jimmy Traina is a media writer and podcast host for Sports Illustrated. A 20-year veteran, he’s been covering the media industry for seven years and writes a weekly column at SI, Traina Thoughts. Jimmy has hosted the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast since 2018, a show known for interviews with some of the most important and powerful people in sports media. He also was the creator and writer for SI’s Hot Clicks feature from 2007 to 2013.