Yankees Broadcasting Legend John Sterling Opens Up About Sudden Retirement

Former Yankees broadcaster John Sterling is pictured at Yankee Stadium.
Former Yankees broadcaster John Sterling is pictured at Yankee Stadium. / Bob Karp/Staff Photographer
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Longtime New York Yankees play-by-play announcer John Sterling shocked the baseball world in April when he suddenly announced his retirement from broadcasting.

The 85-year-old called a few games this season—his 36th year with the Yankees—before making the decision to retire, effective immediately.

"I really knew it in my heart. I should've announced it in spring training or before spring training," Sterling said to Jon Heyman on The Show podcast. "But I figured I'd give it a shot. I was going to do a limited schedule—maybe 100 games, 110 games or whatever. I just found it very tough to keep going to the ball games.

"My boss—the [Audacy New York] general manager, terrific guy—Chris Oliviero—is so nice to me. I think I could've worked out where I would do just home games. But, you know, I didn't want to get up every day and shave and shower and look beautiful to broadcast the games."

Sterling started his career broadcasting Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks games before being hired as the radio voice of the Yankees in 1989. He called 5,631 Yankees games over the next 36 years, handling the play-by-play duties in iconic moments throughout New York's dynasty in the 1990s and narrating the careers of Yankees greats like Derek Jeter and Aaron Judge.

Sterling also assured Yankees fans that he's doing just fine in retirement and has no regrets about his decision.

"I'm very much happier this way. I have no problems," Sterling said to Heyman. "I have no worries about, 'Oh, I want to do it now.' No, I'm fine. Everything is good. And people did worry that there is something physically wrong with me, and that's untrue. Completely untrue. ... That's not the case at all."

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Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a staff writer and editor on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in November 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports and NBC Sports. Dierberger has a bachelor's in communication from St. John's University. In his spare time, he can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.