A Tribute to John Sterling

John Sterling retired as the radio voice of the Yankees last week after 36 years, wrapping up a 64-year broadcasting career. He was a true original.
April 27, 2024

A Tribute to John Sterling

John Sterling’s advice to the incoming Yankee broadcaster who will fill the shoes of the 85-year old radio voice of the pinstripes? Be yourself. 

It was so easy to broadcast, because he never tried to be anyone but himself, Sterling explained this week. That made it easier for Mr. Sterling to never miss a game from September of 1989 into July of 2019. And even further back than that since 1960 grinding out the sportscaster’s life. A life married to the games.

Can the incoming Yankee broadcaster really just be himself? If recent trends continue, it probably can’t happen. 

We really don’t know the names of the radio broadcasters and TV broadcasters under-30, under-40. We don’t know them, the delivery and the face is perfect but almost too robotic in in delivery. 

We knew the Scullys, the Mel Allens, the Jack Bucks. Cities had a long term relationships with the Harry Kallas’s, the Ernie Harwells , the Harry Carays.  That’ can’t happen anymore. Too much off kilter, too much personality, say the wrong thing and you get lit up on social media, teams and leagues react. It’s a different time. But Sterling could be himself.

The only mom and dad pairing on baseball’s radio, him and Suzyn Waldman were a perfect match. Your aunt and uncle calling the game. And Suzyn didn’t just hold her own, she in many ways was the high standard of analysis, as it should be-given her role as analyst and John’s role as play-by-play man. 

Sterling put some life into it, some entertainment value. It’s New York baby. We don’t need plain. We need something exciting and too look forward to. Take the pressure off. He was up for the task and the stage. 

Memo to Big League Clubs

Sterling’s departure was entirely his own. But just as a reminder, don’t get rid of your broadcaster just because they get up in years. Just because they get better with time. Just because they misjudge a home run call or mix up and out or an inning. Don’t get rid of personality. It’s entertainment. It was said anyone who didn’t love John Sterling took baseball too seriously- and New York takes it’s baseball seriously. 



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