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Jim Simpson, Hall of Fame Sportscaster, Dies at 88

Longtime reporter worked for three broadcast nets, TNT and ESPN

Longtime sportscaster Jim Simpson died Wednesday in Scottsdale, Arizona, following what former employer ESPN classified as a “short illness.” He was 88.

The Hall of Fame broadcaster worked for three broadcast networks and TNT as well. Simpson was in the business for more than 50 years.

In 1979, Simpson left NBC for the then-fledgling upstart ESPN, which was still in its first month. Before TV was the main medium, Simpson worked in radio.

From 1986-88, Simpson was the television voice for the Baltimore Orioles on WMAR-TV, the team’s flagship station. In 1991 and ’92, he worked Cornell University football games for SportsChannel America.

In 1998, Simpson received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Sports Emmy Awards. Two years later, he was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.

James Shores Simpson was born in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 20, 1927. He was raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and served in the Coast Guard before attending George Washington University and UCLA. Simpson is survived by his wife, Ann Crowley Jones, and his son and four daughters, Bret, Kim Howard, Sherry Petersen, Suzanne Cleary and B.J. Kline. He also had 18 grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

“On Jim’s first visit to Bristol I met him at the airport and immediately experienced his warm personality,” ESPN Founder and first President Bill Rasmussen remembered Simpson. “He brought tremendous credibility to ESPN in our early days, doing whatever was needed to help build the network. Jim was a television legend.”

“Jim Simpson was a legend at NBC and brought a standard of excellence to ESPN that set the tone for so many to follow,” ESPN basketball analyst and frequent Simpson partner Dick Vitale added. “I was honored he was assigned to work with me as I was just starting out. He had a tremendous influence on me and assisted me early in my career. He was special. Jim Simpson was as good as it gets.”