It's a personal thing with
Gary Titus. He'll tell you this. Sherm Feller was his
friend. How good a friend? Titus and his wife, Sarah,
named their son Louis "Sherman" Titus "to keep Sherm in
our memory always."
Last spring when Titus logged on to the Boston Red
Sox Web site and was greeted by his friend's familiar
voice, "Ladies and gentlemen - boys and girls," he was
thrilled. The voice belonged on the site. Sherm Feller
was and always will be the voice of Fenway Park.
But that was all there was. Just the voice, the slow,
gravely, measured, cadence with no attribution. No
mention of a man who was the Red Sox public address
announcer for 26 years No picture. No history. No link
to the story of someone who is a baseball legend.
So Titus e-mailed the Sox. "Three months later I got
a thank-you- for-writing form reply from the intern of
Titus had asked the Sox to give Sherm Feller his due.
"His voice and name belong on the Boston Red Sox web
site welcoming fans. He's part of Red Sox history. He
also belongs in the Red Sox Hall of Fame and in the New
England Sports Museum. Sherm will be remembered longer
than three-quarters of the entire Red Sox organization.
How many other announcers since Sherm can anyone name?"
Titus wrote more e-mails, to the Sports Museum, to
sports writers and to talk radio hosts.
"Maybe I should have written personal letters," he
says, because no one got back to him. "I'm thinking of
getting a permit and a sign and standing outside Fenway
Park to get some attention."
His goal is to get Feller the place in Boston sports
history that he deserves.
"I went on the Red Sox Web page the other day and now
even his voice is gone."
Sherm Feller was, by all accounts, one of a kind, a
man who, to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, walked with
kings but kept the common touch. After his sudden death
of a heart attack seven years ago, stories of his life
made the rounds. He was pals with Frank Sinatra, Nat
King Cole and Fred Lynn. He made money only to spend it.
People were important to him, not things. He was
America's first talk radio host, or so he said. But he
was also a born storyteller. He was a musician who wrote
more than 1,000 songs, "including 990 flops" he always
said. But two of these songs were 1950s hits:
"Summertime, Summertime," and "My Baby's Coming Home."
And another, "Snow, Snow, Beautiful Snow," became a
standard at the Boston Pops. His biggest musical
achievement? "Ode to JFK," an orchestral suite which
took him 20 years to complete.
Gary Titus met Feller back in the late 1970s at his
family's Canton cafe.
"I was working in radio at the time and hit it off
right away with Sherm. He was a radio and sports legend,
but he was a regular guy."
So regular that one day he showed up at Brockton
Radio station WBET while Titus was on the air. "He took
off like a Taunton-Raynham greyhound on a history-filled
And he told what would become Titus' favorite story:
"A group of nuns was sitting along the wall between the
dugout and home plate at a Red Sox afternoon game. The
day got warm so the nuns took off their overcoats.
Management got concerned that the coats hanging over the
wall might interfere with the game, so Sherm was asked
to make an announcement. Now to hear Sherm in his best
announcer voice tell this story was something I'll never
forget. He turned on the mike and started off with his
famous `Attention please . . . (pause and echo.) . . .
ladies and gentlemen . . . (pause and echo) . . . boys
and girls . . . would the nuns in the front row . . .
kindly remove . . . your clothing . . .' (pause, echo
and then lots of laughter - so much laughter that the
crowd never heard the last part of the announcement,
which was) `from the rail.' "
Monday will be the eighth opening day without Sherm
Feller and long-time Red Sox fans, as they do every
year, will note the loss.
"Don't get me wrong about Sherm," Titus says. "I
haven't written a letter to the cardinal asking that he
get honorary sainthood. I knew him better than that. But
he left his mark on this city. He deserves a place in
Beverly Beckham - Boston Herald