Legendary Yankees Broadcast Discusses His Sudden Retirement

More than a month after his retirement, legendary New York Yankees radio voice John Sterling is clearing up why he retired.
Apr 20, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; Longtime Yankee announcer John Sterling is honored during a pregame ceremony in recognition of his retirement before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
Apr 20, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; Longtime Yankee announcer John Sterling is honored during a pregame ceremony in recognition of his retirement before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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John Sterling’s retirement as the radio voice of the New York Yankees in April was sudden, to say the least.

He and the team announced his retirement on April 15, citing that he was tired of the travel involved in calling games. Five days later, at Yankee Stadium, he was honored for his long career calling the Yankees.

In a video interview with the New York Post earlier this week, he made it clear that health issues had nothing to do with his sudden departure.

“People did worry that there was something physically wrong with me and that's untrue, completely untrue,” the 85-year-old said to the Post. “People printed it on the Internet, not that I look at the Internet — I don't have the opportunity or the ability to — but people told me that it was out there that, you know, maybe he's really sick. That's not the case at all.”

Sterling did admit that the departure was sudden. The Yankees were in Toronto at the time he retired. He also said that he probably should have announced that he was intending to retire before the season began.

He considered doing a limited schedule, perhaps 100 or 110 games, but he wanted to give his usual schedule a shot.

It became clear to him that it wasn’t going to work.

“I just found it very tough to keep going to the ball games,” he said.

Sterling admitted that he thought about discussing some sort of split season plan with WFAN general manager Chris Oliviero. He said a schedule where he only announced home games might have worked.

But he thought about it and admitted that he “…didn't want to get up every day and shave and shower and look beautiful to broadcast the games,” he said with a smile.

It’s clear that retirement agrees with him, saying that he has no regrets.

“I have no worries about, ‘Oh I wanna do it now,’” he said. “I’m fine. Everything is good.”

Sterling took over as the radio voice of the Yankees and called 5,060 consecutive games before the streak was snapped in 2019. He called five World Series championship seasons and every at-bat of Derek Jeter’s career.


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Matthew Postins

MATTHEW POSTINS

Matthew Postins is an award-winning sports journalist who covers the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Houston Astros for Sports Illustrated/FanNation