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John Sterling
Background information
Birth name: Harold Moskowitz
Date of birth: July 4, 1948 (1948-07-04) (age 61)
Genre(s): Play-by-play

John Sterling (born July 4, 1948[1]) is an American sportscaster best known as the radio play-by-play announcer of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees. Sometimes called "The Legendary Voice of The New York Yankees," he has announced Yankees games since 1989 without missing a game.[2][3]


Broadcasting career


Early career

John Sterling began his broadcasting career in Baltimore where he served as the play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Bullets for the 1970-71 NBA Season. He also did play-by-play for Morgan State University football, a role that he held from 1971 to 1978.

His New York career began as a talk show host with WMCA in 1971. He later served as the radio voice for the WHA's New York Raiders, the WFL's New York Stars, the NHL's New York Islanders (where he was paired with Bob Lawrence), and the ABA/NBA's New York/New Jersey Nets (where he was paired mainly with Mike DeTomasso). Sterling also did a stretch with the Yankees as pre-game host on WMCA and WINS radio, as well as co-host on cable segments with Mel Allen.[3]

From 1975 through 1980, Sterling announced the New York Nets and Islanders games for WMCA, WVNJ, WOR-TV and SportsChannel. Previously, he hosted a talk show on New York's WMCA from 1971–1978.[3] After his initial stint in New York, Sterling spent nine years in Atlanta working for Ted Turner and covering the Braves (1982–1987) and Hawks (1981–1989).[3]

New York and the Yankees

In 1989, Sterling surprisingly returned to New York to broadcast the games for the Yankees on WABC. He has been with the Yankees ever since, currently calling games on WCBS-AM (which took over the Yankees radio rights from WABC in 2002) and its affiliates in the New York Yankees Radio Network. Since 2005, his co-host has been Suzyn Waldman; past announcing partners include: Jay Johnstone (1989–1990), Joe Angel (1991), Michael Kay (1992–2001), and Charley Steiner (2002–2004).[3] In March 2007, it was reported that Sterling and Waldman had signed contracts to continue as the Yankees' radio announcers through the 2011 season.[4]

Sterling's association with the Yankees is not limited to announcing live games over the radio. He is also host YES Network's "Yankeeography" series, which produces biographies of New York Yankees. Among several nominations, Sterling has received two Emmy Awards for the series.[5] In addition, Sterling has a nightly commentary feature on WCBS newscasts called "Sterling on Sports", in which he gives his take on a recent sporting event or sports news item.[6] This commentary airs nightly during the 6:15 PM sports report.

Sterling and former broadcasting partner Michael Kay commonly work together representing the Yankees; they announce the annual Yankee's Old-Timers' Day,[7] and preside at "Key to the City" ceremonies following Yankee World Series victories. The pair often serve as masters of ceremonies on and off the field for major Yankee events, including the 2000 ticker-tape parade held in the Yankees' honor after their World Series win.[8][9]

Announcing mannerisms

Sterling has several idiosyncrasies that mark his broadcasts as distinctive, if also divisive.[10] In addition to a colorful vocal personality, Sterling has distinguished himself for sometimes characterizing plays differently than they may appear and for his announcing errors, habits that spark high feelings in fans and lead to comparisons with announcers like Phil Rizzuto. [11][12]

Following the final out of a Yankees victory, Sterling calls "Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankees win!"[3][10] The length of the word "the" is held longer after dramatic victories, as well as after victories resulting in championships (which Sterling also punctuates by saying the name of whatever series is over). It has been played over the public address system at Yankee Stadium after every Yankees victory for the past several seasons, right before Frank Sinatra's cover of "Theme from New York, New York" is played.[13] The phrase evolved from Sterling's call of Mel Hall's game-winning three-run homer in the ninth inning on May 27, 1991, to give the Yankees a dramatic Memorial Day win over the Boston Red Sox.[14]

One of his signature radio remarks is his home run call "It is high, it is far, it is gone!" Sterling often will follow this with one of his trademark nicknames or Sterlingisms for Yankee players, some of which include:[15]

  • "An A-bomb, from A-Rod!" (Alex Rodriguez)
  • "The Melkman Delivers" (Melky Cabrera)
  • "El Capitano" (Derek Jeter)
  • "The Giambino" (Jason Giambi)
  • "It's a Tex Message!" (Mark Teixeira)
  • "You're on the 'Mark', Teixeira" (Mark Teixeira)
  • "It's a Thrilla - By Godzilla!" (Hideki Matsui)
  • "The Sayonara Kid does it again!" (Hideki Matsui)
  • "Swish It Away" (Nick Swisher)
  • "Swishilicious" (Nick Swisher)
  • "Jorgy Juiced One" (Jorge Posada)
  • "Robbie Cano - Don't You Know" (Robinson Cano)
  • "It's a Johnny Rocket" (Johnny Damon)
  • "Hinske with his best shot" (Eric Hinske)
  • "Robin becomes Batman" Robin Ventura
  • "The Bam-Tino" Tino Martinez
  • "X marks the spot" Xavier Nady
  • "Gardner plants one" Brett Gardner
  • "Bernie goes boom!" Bernie Williams
  • "Berrrn, Baby Bern!" Bernie Williams
  • "Brosius the Ferocious" Scott Brosius
  • "Shane Spencer the home run dispenser!" Shane Spencer
  • "El Comedulce! Bobby Abreu is as sweet as candy!" Bobby Abreu

For back to back home runs, Sterling references Harry Belafonte's "Zombie Jamboree" by saying "mmm...back to back!...mmm...belly to belly!" In addition, sometimes before a pitch he will say "theeeeeee pitch," lengthening the word, "the." If a batter swings and misses, Sterling will often say "cuuuuut on-and-missed," elongating the word cut, followed by "on-n-miss" pronounced as one quick word.

Criticism of Sterling

Sterling has been criticized by Phil Mushnick for his inaccurate calls.[16]

Jim Norton of The Opie and Anthony Show routinely mocks Sterling's player nicknames and his emphasis on the "mmm" sound before saying "mmm-it is high, mmm-it is far...." [17]


Sterling is a resident of Edgewater, New Jersey.[18] He had previously resided in Teaneck, New Jersey.[19] He is married and the father of 4, including a set of triplets, born in 2000.[3]


  1. ^ "John Sterling: Summary". Retrieved 2009-08-16.  
  2. ^ "John Sterling and Neil Berg In Concert: Baseball and Broadway". TheaterMania. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "John Sterling". MLB (Major League Baseball) Official Site. Retrieved 2008-08-02.  
  4. ^ Raissman (2007-03-19). "Waldman and Sterling ink new deals". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13.  
  5. ^ "THE 46th ANNUAL NEW YORK EMMY AWARDS – 2003 WINNERS". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved 2008-08-03.  
  6. ^ "Sterling on Sports". WCBS NewsRadio 880. 08/03/08. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  7. ^ Hotch, Bryan (August 2, 2008). "Old Timers gather at the Cathedral". Major League Baseball ( Retrieved 2008-08-03.  
  8. ^ Giuliani, Rudolph W. (October 29th, 1999). "World Champion Yankees Celebration Speech". New York City: Government of. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  9. ^ "I Love a Parade: Yankees get ticker-tape treatment, City Hall rally". Sports Illustrated (Associated Press). January 30, 2000. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  10. ^ a b LAPOINTE, John (October 24, 1998). "ON THE YANKEES; The Stadium's Grass Is Greener on the Radio". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  11. ^ Mushnik, Phil (August 15, 2007). "BROADCAST BOOTH ANOTHER CALLING". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  12. ^ LAPOINTE, John (October 7, 2007). "Radio Choice". New York Times (Baseball Blog). Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  13. ^ Chad, Norman (July 6, 2008). "The Couch Slouch: Yanks' new yard: The House That Ruthless Built". "At the new Yankee Stadium, they no longer will play "Theme from New York, New York" after games." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer (SeattlePI)). Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  14. ^ MARTINEZ, Michael (May 27, 1991). "BASEBALL; Yanks Take Bus Home, But They're Flying High". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  15. ^ Swan, Lisa; John Lewin (July 29, 2008). "Let's come up with a home run call for Xavier Nady". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  16. ^ "Baseball Fans Deserve Better than Sterling". New York Post. May 18, 2009.  
  17. ^ Jim Norton Hates John Sterling (Sept. 1, 2005) - Explicit Language
  18. ^ Klapisch, Bob (August 2008). "Covering All Bases: Radio's John Sterling, Edgewater, calls the hits for Yankee games". 201. p. 40.  
  19. ^ Sullivan, Tara (September 17, 1998). "YANKS' AIR APPARENTS; STERLING, KAY A HIT BEYOND THEIR MIKES". The Record (Bergen County).  

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