Yesterday, the Yankees held a poignant Old Timers' Game, where former players fondly remembered owner George Steinbrenner and public address announcer Bob Sheppard. Goose Gossage said of "The Boss," "He was tougher back in our day than he was later on, over the last regime, the last decade-and-a-half. As much as we won, the more we won, the crazier he got.
Yogi Berra wasn't able to make the game after suffering cuts and bruises in his NJ home. His family put out a statement, "He is extremely disappointed he is unable to participate in the Old-Timers' ceremonies and see so many of his friends. He appreciates all the well-wishes and hopes to be up and about very soon." However, Reggie Jackson was upset, still mourning the death of Steinbrenner, telling reporters, "I'd rather not be here... Thinking about The Boss, he's like family to me," but the team convinced him to attend, "It will be tough. I'll enjoy it. The feelings will be good... We were never enemies. It was always respectful. If I had any difficult times with him I was in a learning process of understanding life. I look at all of the time with him as building a stronger relationship. There are players and owners in history that are tied together in the sport. I'm proud to be tied to him. That will never change."
Sheppard was also part of the tributes with his widow Mary attending Old Timers' Day and receiving cheers from the crowd. During the 7th inning stretch, instead of playing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," a video of Sheppard singing, "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," his Mother's Day tradition, was played.
The NY TImes' William C. Rhoden writes today that the Yankees "sells history" like no other sports team, "Despite the team’s seeming narcissism, Major League Baseball could learn something from the annual showcase of Old-Timers’ Day. The Yankees are the only team that annually holds one, but it is something that baseball should encourage every team to do periodically. Old-Timers’ Day is the celebration of continuity and reunion. Few teams have the Yankees’ history, but every team has former players... On Saturday, current Yankees players moved among generations of players who had worn pinstripes at one time or another. Very few players in any sport experience this kind of generational continuity during their careers."