Family, friends, co-workers and sports fans across Wisconsin are grieving the reported loss of a voice who brought the excitement of world champions and favorite athletes into our homes for decades.
Hall of Fame announcer Jim Irwin, Newsradio 620 WTMJ’s longtime play-by-play voice of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks and Wisconsin Badgers, has passed away.
Irwin’s daughter confirmed the information to TODAY’S TMJ4’s Mike Jacobs.
Irwin faced a battle with kidney cancer and had recently received hospice care in Southern California.
Jim became “the voice” of the Green Bay Packers on 620 WTMJ in 1975.
When Bender left in 1975, Irwin slid over to the play-by-play microphone, initially working with color commentator Lionel Aldridge, a former Packers defensive end, TODAY’S TMJ4 sports anchor and NBC Sports commentator.
Irwin wouldn’t give up that job for 24 years, working with former Packers wide receiver Max McGee for the final 20 of those seasons.
When he retired Jim Irwin had called more Packers games than other announcer. While he is best remembered for being the Packers’ play-by-play man, he also called Bucks and Badgers games in addition to being a fill-in for Brewers games.
In his illustrious career, Irwin earned Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year 10 times, while being named to the Packers Hall of Fame and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
Irwin had a number of other roles as well at 620WTMJ and TODAY’S TMJ4.
He called Milwaukee Bucks basketball games on Newsradio 620 WTMJ from 1979-1993, teaming with analyst Jon McGlocklin during many of those years.
Irwin was present for 12 consecutive playoff appearances and three runs to the Eastern Conference Finals from 1980-91.
He also worked with Bender and former Badgers quarterback Ron Vanderkelen on Wisconsin football from 1969-90, while doing play-by-play on Badgers basketball during that time as well.
“Jim Irwin, he was one of the best play-by-play people that I’ve ever heard,” said Vanderkelen in a 2011 interview with Sorgi.
“He and I got along very well. He said, ‘this is what your role is,’ and we just jelled very, very easily…It was just a pleasure.”
Irwin also called Milwaukee Brewers games during the 1970’s and 1980’s on Newsradio 620 WTMJ as a fill-in voice for Bob Uecker when the longtime Voice of the Brewers had national television responsibilities.
Condolences to the Irwin family on their loss.
- The Little Engine that Could – Greenbay Packers, NFL 2011 Social Media Champs (mymarketingnirvana.com)