Monday, April 6, 2015

RIP Lon Simmons (1923-2015)

One of the original San Fransisco Giants game announcers, Lon Simmons passed away Sunday.  The Giants issued the following in their press release:

But it was with the Giants that Simmons made his biggest impact. Their arrival from New York in 1958 was a historic event, since it marked the Major Leagues' first westward movement. Teaming with Russ Hodges, Simmons provided verbal illustrations of the excitement generated by the talent-laden clubs that recorded winning records each year from 1958-71, yet captured only one National League pennant. The exploits of San Francisco's core of eventual Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry -- were rendered unforgettable when delivered in Simmons' rich baritone.
Simmons would also call games for the Bay Area's other team, the Oakland A's, from 1981-1995.  It was during this stint that Simmons was able to call the final outs of a World Series, something that had alluded him on the other side of the Bay.

More after the jump:

It is somewhat cosmically linked that Simmons passing would take place on Opening Day.  As noted in the Giants press release:

Simmons served three stints with the Giants, from 1958-73, 1976-78 and 1996-2002. He's the Giants' lone broadcaster to call Opening Day games at all three of their San Francisco homes -- Seals Stadium, Candlestick Park and AT&T Park.
For this blog, Simmons played an important part in broadcast history.  Despite no major cache being found, Simmons and his broadcast partner Russ Hodges recorded on videotape every game broadcast of the 1963 Giants season.  The videotapes were used to show highlights during the postgame programs that the two produced.

Simmons and Hodges are honored by the Giants at their current home, AT&T Park, as the namesakes attached to the broadcast booth high above homeplate. 

Here is a link to a historical website honoring Lon Simmons and his partner Russ Hodges.  On it, you can listen to the complete game radio broadcast.

As with any great baseball broadcaster, Simmons was known for his iconic homerun call of "tell it 'Goodbye!'".  Today, the world tells Lon "Goodbye".

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