Paying Tribute to Yankees Broadcaster John Sterling

John Sterling became a New York legend thanks to home run calls, passion and remaining old school.
Yankees' legendary broadcaster John Sterling

Syndication Northjersey
Yankees' legendary broadcaster John Sterling Syndication Northjersey / Bob Karp/Staff Photographer / USA TODAY
In this story:

1. It was a late December afternoon in 2019. I was sitting at my desk in the Sports Illustrated office. My phone rang and the name that appeared read, "John Sterling."

I couldn't possibly figure out why Sterling would be calling me since baseball was deep into its offseason, but obviously, I was highly intrigued. Especially since I've been an unabashed Sterling fan since I can remember.

After exchanging pleasantries, Sterling told me he was doing some end-of-the-year catching up and he realized that he had never called to thank me for having him as a guest on the SI Media Podcast and for being a fan of his work.

Sterling was a guest on the podcast in August.

But that was Sterling—old school. Even months later, he wanted to make sure he offered a thank you. He called to say thanks. He doesn't have a smart phone. He doesn't text.

Sure, a person who is 85 years old is going to be old school, but Sterling remained old school in every way possible and that was part of his charm. That was just one reason why he became a cult-like hero with many New York Yankees fans over the 36 seasons he called games on the radio.

And that's why the stunning news of his immediate retirement Monday has hit hard for the Yankees faithful. For many of us, he was the soundtrack of our baseball lives. He was our voice of summer.

Sterling received national attention for his individualized home run calls and famous "theeeeeeee Yankees win" call at the end of games, but just as important as the schtick was that Sterling was always there. Every. Single. Game.

Don't underestimate how important familiarity is for sports fans, especially on a local level.

The numbers regarding Sterling's broadcasting career are absolutely staggering.

• Years broadcasting: 64
• Consecutive games called from 1989 to 2019: 5,060
• Total regular season Yankees game called: 5,420
• Total Yankee playoff games called: 211

Tributes poured in for Sterling on Monday, including from around the baseball broadcasting world.

Los Angeles Angels play-by-play man Wayne Randazzo used Sterling's signature home run call for a Mike Trout dinger.

The Mets booth of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling spoke glowingly about their crosstown colleague.

How important was Sterling to the Yankees? Even Derek Jeter, who barely uses social media, chimed in with a message.

This was the final home run call of Sterling's career. It was a perfect ending because it was one of Sterling's home run calls that included singing.

2. No drama late and no Tiger Woods in contention hurt CBS's ratings for the Masters' final round Sunday, which drew fewer than 10 million viewers.

3. I don't know anything about the WNBA, so I don't want to act like I have any familiarity with their payroll structure, but I was blown away to see that after all the Caitlin Clark Mania and after the Caitlin Clark ratings increases at the collegiate level, that she's going to make less than $100,000 a year to play in the league.

4. This was quite a bizarre moment in Monday's Cardinals-A's game. St. Louis was in the middle of trying to figure out if it should challenge a play. During this time, an Oakland security guard walked in front of Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol. Marmol then grabbed the guy and got all irritated. Total overreaction and totally bizarre.

5. Patrick Mahomes was named one of Time's 100 most influential people today.

I don't know how anyone can not like Mahomes, especially after this paragraph from the story:

"Mahomes signed a $500 million contract in 2020 but remains obsessed with Chick-fil-A and snacking on Starbursts. He brags about bringing Whataburger—the Texas-based chain that he pronounces 'Waterburger' in his boisterous down-home drawl—to the Kansas City area as a part-owner of eight locations. A shirtless photo of Mahomes, in the locker room celebrating Kansas City’s AFC championship win over Baltimore, went viral and attracted lots of comments about his physique. 'I definitely have the dad bod a little bit,' he says. 'I’ll also say I have a great body for a quarterback. You’ve got to have some padding in there to take the hits that we take.'”

6. SI Media Podcast with Jimmy Traina update: We will have a new show for you Wednesday with the new WWE universal heavyweight champion, Cody Rhodes.

Then we'll have another new show for you Thursday with ESPN's Malika Andrews and Traina Thoughts with Sal Licata.

So make sure you are subscribed to the podcast to get those episodes delivered right to you.

If you missed last week's podcast with author and reporter Jim Miller, make sure you check that out

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 72nd birthday to Bill Belichick.


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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.