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Sherm Feller

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Sherm Feller

Sherman "Sherm" Feller (July 29, 1918 - January 27, 1994) was an American musical composer and radio personality, perhaps best known for serving as the public address announcer for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park for 26 years.

Early Years

Sherman (Sherm) Feller was born to Harry and Fannie Feller, both Russian immigrants. While born in Brockton, Sherman and his sister were raised in Roxbury, then a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. While census data identified his father as a stitcher in a shoe factory, his father also served as a cantor in a synagogue ("Sherm Feller Dies," 4). Sherm graduated from Roxbury Memorial High School, and then attended Suffolk College (today Suffolk University), where he began to study law, but left before graduating (Long, 26).

Pre Red Sox Years

Sherm Feller decided he wanted to work in radio, and he first worked in Manchester NH at WMUR. His first radio job in greater Boston was in Lowell, where he was hired by WLLH in late 1941 (Variety, December 31, 1941). It was there where he met the woman who became his wife, vocalist Judy Valentine. They married in 1945. By this time, Feller was not only known as an announcer; he had begun writing songs, several of which would be sung by Valentine (Droney, 45). The duo became known on air as "A Feller and His Girl." By 1948, Feller was on the air in Boston, at station WEEI, where he became well known as host of "Club Midnight," and also wrote a music column for the Boston American newspaper ("Vox Jox," 20). Some sources say he was the first Boston announcer to do a call-in talk show ("Sherm Feller Dies" 4), although back then, it was not possible to put callers on the air. Announcers would repeat or paraphrase what the caller was saying. As was the custom in that era, announcers frequently left one station to work for another. Among the stations where Feller worked were WLAW in Lawrence, beginning in August 1952, where he did a dance music and interview program; he was also the host of a live program from the station's Boston studio ("Boston DJ," 24). After WLAW left the air in the summer of 1953, Feller moved to WVDA in Boston, where he continued to write songs, and work as an announcer, frequently interviewing celebrities. Among the famous performers he knew and counted as friends were Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Tommy Dorsey ("Sherm Feller Dies," 4).

While Feller would later become known for his work with the Red Sox, he was a prolific song-writer, credited with writing or co-writing more than 1,000 songs. Among his pop hits were "Snow Snow Beautiful Snow," recorded by Fred Waring; "Francesca," named for his mother, and recorded by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops; "She Was Five and He Was Ten," a hit for the Mills Brothers; and "It's Easter Time," recorded by Vaughn Monroe (Long, 26). In the top-40 era, he became known for a hit he co-wrote with Tom Jameson in 1958, "Summertime Summertime" by The Jamies. "[1][2] In addition, Feller composed numerous orchestral tunes including "Ode to JFK".[3] And even after he became the Public Address announcer for the Red Sox, Feller continued to do a big-band oriented radio program, on station WROL from 1970 till 1985 (Santosuosso, 61).

Red Sox Years

Feller served as the Fenway Park public address announcer for 26 years beginning in 1967 and continuing until just before his death in early 1994 (Long, 26). Feller was known throughout baseball for his distinct voice which was described as being slow with a gravely, measured cadence.[4] Feller attributed his unique sound to the fact that he spoke without his dentures while calling a game. He was also known for keeping his announcements simple, often giving the batter's uniform number, full name, his position, and his last name when the batter stepped up to the plate, such as "Number 26, Wade Boggs. Third base, Boggs." Feller was also known to generations of Red Sox fans for beginning each Red Sox home game with, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park."[5] Today, games broadcast on NESN begin with a soundclip of Feller making this announcement.

Feller was also closely associated, in the minds of many Red Sox fans, with Fenway Park organist John Kiley during his public address announcing career.[6]

Feller was known to be a particular favorite of current ESPN baseball broadcaster Jon Miller who, while serving as the Baltimore Orioles' broadcaster, often impersonated Feller, both on-air and over the Fenway Park public address system, while broadcasting games between the Orioles and Red Sox.[7]

Feller died suddenly at his home in Stoughton, Massachusetts, of heart disease (Long, 26). He was 75.

Notes

"Boston DJ Pushes Bands." Billboard Magazine, September 27, 1952, p. 24.

Droney, John. "Pretty Lowell Songstress Rapidly Heading For Fame." Lowell Sun, May 5, 1949, p. 45.

Long, Tom. "Sherm Feller Was Fenway Park's Voice of the Boston Red Sox." Boston Globe, January 29, 1994, p. 26.

"Sherm Feller Dies; PA Voice of Boston Red Sox Was a Legend." Worcester Telegram & Gazette, January 29, 1994, p. 4.

"Vox Jox." Billboard Magazine, June 12, 1948, p. 20.

External links

  • Sherm Feller website
  • Sherm's "Welcome to Fenway Park"

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