John Sterling calling the Kitten Bowl.

We tend to throw around the notion that a broadcaster is “The Voice” of a franchise, but John Sterling truly has embodied being the Voice of the New York Yankees for almost four decades.

His voice and epic calls have become an essential part of the Yankees experience. Whole generations of fans don’t know a world in which he’s not calling some of the most iconic moments in MLB history.

Those who work in New York sports media have the added context of working with Sterling or spending time around him. Now that he has announced his retirement, local media members chimed in with their favorite memories and thoughts on just how much the longtime broadcaster meant to the Yankees and New York City.

We have to begin with the most iconic voices in New York sports radio history, Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Francesa joined his old radio partner on Russo’s High Heat show on MLB Network to discuss Sterling. Things begin, appropriately enough, with the duo patting

“]The radio broadcaster is] the guy who is the soundtrack of a baseball team and he is the one fans remember, the one that the city remembers,” said Francesa. “In October the TV guys go away, network guys take over. They never have the great call; they never have the dramatic playoff call or World Series call. They don’t work those games, the radio guys work those games.

“And Sterling worked every one of those great Yankee wins and great Yankee World Series wins and all the dynasty years of the 90s and became the soundtrack of New York City.”

Russo shared similar sentiments.

“He has two things that are very important,” said Russo. “He’s got a great voice and a great laugh…when he allows his partner to say something he contributes with a wonderful, big booming laugh, I think that goes a long way, too.

“…He was blessed with a voice that he could take anywhere, to any octave and it never broke, and that’s the great voice. A voice like Nantz has, like Sterling has … that big, booming silky voice and he had one of those great voices. He used that as an instrument, he played it like it was an instrument. He knew he had that voice, and he played that voice all the time.”

Current WFAN radio hosts Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti also shared their thoughts on Sterling on Tuesday’s episode of Boomer and Gio.

“John deserves every bit of admiration and accolades he’s gonna get on Saturday,” Giannotti said. “I’m really gonna miss this. I can’t even imagine going through a full baseball season without him…as long as the baseball season is, he provided so many fun moments throughout the summer and the dead times.”

“Those two have been an iconic broadcasting duo. I don’t know how else you can say it,” Boomer said of Sterling and broadcasting partner Suzyn Waldman. “He’s a treasure.”

Yankees TV voice and ESPN New York host Michael Kay wished that fans would get to hear Sterling call one more game for the sake of closure and appreciation.

“I don’t know why he won’t do one more game just to give people closure,” Kay said during his radio program. “People want to hear that one final game. They experienced that one final game and they didn’t know it was his one final game.”

“The Michael Kay Show” co-host Don La Greca agreed with that sentiment.

“We can’t say we’re surprised by this announcement because he’s going to be 86 years old.” La Greca said. “The day was going to come sooner than later, I just think people thought they’d know the last game. And I just wonder when he sees the outpouring of emotion from the fans, whether given the opportunity to do just one last game, whether he would take that opportunity.”

WFAN host Keith McPherson paid tribute to Sterling on his Monday night show, recalling his interaction with the iconic announcer.

“As a fan, as a Yankee fan, being able to break that wall down with two people you never envisioned meeting…the first time I saw John, I could not stop smiling and laughing,” McPherson said. “Just seeing him and hearing his voice in person…John is the man.

“So many people want to copy other people in media or online instead of being themselves and blazing their own trail. That is something I’ll take away from John Sterling. I don’t want to be anyone else. I want to be an original, a one-of-one. John Sterling is an actual GOAT. Greatest of all time.”

WFAN host Chris “CMac” McMonigle summed up just how important Sterling has been to the Yankees fan experience.

“Every once in a while, there is a person who is bigger than the sport,” C-Mac said. “That day is today.”

“John Sterling was the soundtrack of my summers. John was the big moment. You waited for the big moment, and you knew it was gonna be good. It wasn’t over until John Sterling told me so. That’s how it’s been forever. For my entire life.”

[WFAN, Barrett Sports Media, NY Post]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to