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John Sterling, iconic play-by-play broadcaster for the Yankees, retires

John Sterling retires after 36 years in Yankees radio booth
John Sterling retires after 36 years in Yankees radio booth 00:45

NEW YORK -- John Sterling, the legendary radio play-by-play voice of the Yankees, is stepping away from his microphone.

The team announced on Monday that Sterling, who has been a fixture calling Bronx Bombers games for more than three decades, has decided to retire, effective immediately.

Sterling, who will turn 86 on July 4, will be honored during a pregame ceremony on Saturday before the Yankees play the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

"I am a very blessed human being. I have been able to do what I wanted, broadcasting for 64 years. As a little boy growing up in New York as a Yankees fan, I was able to broadcast the Yankees for 36 years. It's all to my benefit, and I leave very, very happy. I look forward to seeing everyone again on Saturday," Sterling said in a statement.

Since joining the club during the 1989 season, Sterling's voice has become synonymous with the Yankees. He called 5,420 regular season and 211 postseason games, displaying a signature home run call -- "It is high! It is far! It is gone!" -- and Yankees victory call -- "Ballgame over! The Yankees win! Theeeeee Yankees win!"

Sterling called 5,060 consecutive games from September 1989 to July 2019. His final game this season was the Bombers' 8-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

He has made an impact on generations of fans of the pinstripes.

"Fans find a certain comfort in the daily rhythms of baseball. Day in and day out, season after season, and city after city, John Sterling used his seat in the broadcast booth to bring Yankees fans the heartbeat of the game, employing an orotund voice and colorful personality that were distinctly, unmistakably his own. John informed and entertained, and he exemplified what it means to be a New Yorker with an unapologetic and boisterous style that exuded his passion for baseball, broadcasting and the New York Yankees," the team said in a statement.

"There is no shortage of adjectives to describe John and what he means to this organization and our millions of fans around the world. But what makes John a goliath of the sports broadcasting world was how sacred he held his role as voice of the Yankees. Showing up to perform virtually every single day since 1989, he was a pillar for Yankees fans who relied on the comfort and familiarity of his voice to be the soundtrack of their spring, summer and fall. Given the tremendous care he had for the team and his performance on the air, it's not a stretch to believe that our fans live and die with every pitch because John Sterling did the same," the team added. "We congratulate John on a remarkable and illustrious career. His contributions to this great game and to the Yankees franchise will echo long into the future."

Prior to working for the Yankees, Sterling wore many hats in the radio world, including hosting a talk show on WMCA and calling Nets and Islanders games on various New York stations, both radio and television, throughout the 1970s, before doing the same for the Atlanta Hawks and Braves in the 1980s.

Sterling was also the host of the "Yankeeography" series, which airs on the Yes Network, and has received numerous honors, including 12 Emmy Awards.

In 2016, he was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

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