John Sterling, 85, retires from Yankees radio booth a few weeks into 36th season.

New York — John Sterling, the exuberant New York Yankees commentator known for decades of customized home run shouts, retired Monday at 85. Sterling made the surprising choice a few weeks into his 36th season as Yankees radio play-by-play commentator. In recent years, he had cut back his itinerary and missed the team's trip to Cleveland and Toronto.  

He called 211 postseason games and 5,420 regular-season games, ending April 7 against the Blue Jays. Beginning as a Yankees pregame presenter, Sterling televised 5,060 games from September 1989 to July 2019. A ceremony will commemorate Sterling before Saturday's Bronx game against Tampa Bay.  

“I have been able to do what I wanted, broadcasting for 64 years,” Sterling remarked. “As a Yankees fan from New York, I broadcast the team for 36 years. It benefits me, and I leave happy. I hope to see everyone on Saturday.”  

As the Yankees entered their latest dynasty, winning four World Series wins from 1996 to 2000, Sterling home run nicknames became as important as pinstripes and championship rings. From "Bernie booms!" Bern, baby, Bern!" for Bernie Williams, “It’s a Jeter jolt!” for Derek, “It’s an A-bomb from A-Rod!” for Alex Rodriguez, “The Giambino!” for Jason Giambi, and “A thrilla from Godzilla!” for Hideki Matsui, Sterling left his mark on the clubhouse and bleachers.  

For the latest Yankees, Aaron, Anthony Rizzo, and DJ LeMahieu would shout “It's a Judge-ian blast!”, “Nobody beats the Rizz!”, and “David John makes long gone!”  

He may have become obscure in recent years, using "Giancarlo, non si può destoparlo!" (“You can’t stop it!”) for Stanton and “A spettacolo oggi!” for Anthony Volpe. He sang “He's Juan-der-ful, marvelous” for Juan Soto this year to George Gershwin's “‘S Wonderful.” Fans waited for him to say, “Thuuuuuuuh Yankees win!” with an elongated “the.”  

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, using an orotund voice and colorful personality so clearly his own,” the organization said. John informed and amused, and he epitomized what it means to be a New Yorker with an outspoken and exuberant manner that showed his passion for baseball, broadcasting, and the Yankees.”  

Sterling worked with Jay Johnstone (1989-90), Joe Angel (1991), Michael Kay (1992-2001), Charley Steiner (2002-04), and Suzyn Waldman (2005-present). New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame inducted Sterling and Waldman in 2016.  

New York native Sterling broadcast the NBA's Washington Bullets and Morgan State football in his early years, becoming famous for yelling "Islanders goal!" Islanders goal!” while announcing 1975-78 Islanders and 1975-80 Nets games. Sterling first saw the Yankees during pregame programs on WMCA's 1971-78 radio talk show.  

After working with the Braves (1982-87) and Hawks (1981-89), he joined the Yankees. I was raised on Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn. Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated Monday that he fell asleep to the radio like many of you. “Radio baseball is my love. Though I'm heartbroken, I want him to be healthy and happy moving forward."  

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