R.I.P. Lon Simmons

Had to devote a thread to Lon Simmons. Lon passed away at 91 yesterday after a LOOOONG run as a broadcaster for most of the Bay Area sports teams at one time or another. He got his start broadcasting for the 49ers in 1957, with local guy Bob Fouts (who’s son ended up being a pretty good QB). He held that job til 1980. He was also the voice of the Giants from their move west til 1973, then off and on through last year. He also was there in the A’s booth to broadcast the A’s beating the Giants. Bittersweet to say the least.

Anyone who grew up in the Bay Area in the last 60 years instantly recognized his voice. He was as big an icon in the area as any athlete. He was unfailingly described as one of the nicest guys out there, and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Unless of course it was about some of the inept teams he was covering. His laconic style belied a cutting sense of humor that got the listening audience laughing and commiserating. I was bummed he missed out on the initial Super Bowl run for the Niners, but he came back in time to broadcast the John Taylor game winning TD in Super Bowl XXIII. He has been a constant presence recently with the Giants, and he has always been a true representative of both sports and all the Bay Area teams and a true gentleman all the way.

My wife had the pleasure of meeting Lon at a Giants charity event back in the heyday of the Al Rosen/Roger Craig Giants, and said he was very nice, courteous, and thoughtful. The same couldn’t be said for Mike Krukow.

These are two of may favorite Simmons moments.

I was at the Minnesota game, sitting in the wrong end zone, and it was funny just watching the crowd on either side of the field standing up as Young got further down the field toward the south end zone. When the far end zone erupted, the rest of the crowd on our side of the field erupted as well. Like a slow-motion backward wave.

It wasn’t until we got in the car to go home that we got to hear Lon’s call. By the time he was done, we were all laughing hysterically. One of the greatest moments in Niner, Candlestick, NFL, and Lon Simnmons’ distinguished history.

Rest in Peace, Lon. Condolences to your family.

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About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers and SF Giants fan
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11 Responses to R.I.P. Lon Simmons

  1. Lurker John says:

    I’m repeating myself from the flap, but not enough praise can be heaped on Lon. He’s one of the greats and will be sorely missed. I take solace in the fact that he had a good, long fulfilling life. RIP.

  2. Lurker John says:

    The Marshall video is hilarious, with all the Niners coming up and thanking him. How about Billy Kilmer has a receiver?

  3. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah. Being fully functional at 91 is pretty cool.

  4. Winder says:

    Chuck – Nice way to bring back some great memories. Lon Simmons was the best, Period. If spirits can feel love then Lon’s cup is overflowing. RIP.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Yea, the George Mira era at QB. He was a running QB in the Kappy style. Kilmer as halfback is strange to say the least. Then again Kilmer was a running QB as well. He barely QBed for the Niners as we had Brodie and Mira in front of him. He barely played after that 64 season as he got in a contract dispute with the management and was picked by the Saints in the ’67 supplemental draft.

  6. Nipper says:

    Radio was king in the early years and Russ and Lon were like friends relating the games so well. Especially the Giants, they were barely on TV.

  7. snarkk says:

    I always felt Starkey was a fair to poor replacement for Lon. I think Lon wouldn’t take S from Giants and radio station management, and that’s why he left the several times he moved out of the Giants and Niner booths. I may have listened to him less than a handful of times when he was with the A’s, though he was there quite a long time. Just didn’t seem right, him calling A’s games. The one season in ’76 I think that he called Giants games with Al Michaels was awesome. They were great in the booth. Had to be, because the Giants sucked big time…

  8. snarkk says:

    I’ve heard one anecdote about Kruk not always being that happy go lucky dude he seems to be. Something about going off on a payroll clerk for some mistake on his pay. No clue how true it is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not always the yuk it up dude he plays on TV and radio…

  9. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, Krukow was just out of playing the game and had just started broadcasting when my wife met him. Said he was an arrogant jerk. He was lousy as a color guy as well. I think he mellowed and definitely got better over the years.

    Michaels was very good from the get-go

  10. unca_chuck says:

    New thread is up.

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