Sox Should Remember Sherm
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 the day."

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 half-hour interview."

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 its history."

Beverly Beckham - Boston Herald

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