TORONTO -- Blue Jays third-base coach Brian Butterfield was on the field at Rogers Centre on Sunday when he heard the news: longtime Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard passed away that morning.
For Butterfield, learning of Sheppard's death stirred up memories of his big league debut as a coach. On Opening Day in 1994, Butterfield made it to the Majors as a first-base coach for the Yankees.
"Don Mattingly approached me before the game," Butterfield recalled, "and said, 'You're going to be excited when Bob Sheppard introduces you. He went through it. He did a great immitation of Bob Sheppard. He said, 'First-base coach, Bri-an, But-terfield,' with the accent on the two 'T's,' just like 'Mat-tingly.'"
Sheppard did not disappoint, announcing Butterfield's name just as Mattingly had predicted. For Butterfield -- whose father, Jack, had served as a vice president of player development and scouting for the Yankees -- it was a very emotional moment.
"It was a great day," Butterfield said. "Just thinking about the Yankee tradition and hearing Bob Sheppard's voice -- the greatest of all-time -- and then to be introduced on the chalk line. It was a day that I was thinking about my father, because he had worked in the Yankees' organization.
"It was really emotional. It was such an emotional day. It was one of my big highlights of my professional career -- being introduced by Bob Sheppard on Opening Day."