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Tampa Bay Rays radio announcer, community leader dies at 58

Dave Wills called games for the Rays since 2005.


  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 5:30 p.m. March 5, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Dave Willis, who has called games for the Tampa Bay Rays since 2005, previously called games for the Chicago White Sox, among other teams.
Dave Willis, who has called games for the Tampa Bay Rays since 2005, previously called games for the Chicago White Sox, among other teams.
Courtesy photo
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Dave Wills, who has been the Tampa Bay Rays radio announcer for the past 18 years and a popular civic and community figure connected to the team, died Sunday, March 5. He was 58. 

The Rays announced Wills' death in a statement Sunday. 

Wills was hospitalized last September due to a heart issue that caused him to miss the remainder of the regular season, according to a story on MLB.com the Rays posted. He returned to the mic and was working as recently as Saturday's game against the Yankees. 

“Dave was an outstanding broadcaster, a great friend and an even better person,” Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg says in a statement from the Rays. “He had a remarkable talent for bringing the game to life for our fans and was a vital part of the Rays family. We will miss him dearly and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

During his time with the Rays, Wills became a beloved figure among fans for his passion, enthusiasm and expertise. He called some of the most memorable moments in Rays history, the team says, including the team’s run to the World Series in 2008 and 2020. Wills "was known for his impeccable play-by-play calling, his insightful analysis and his infectious personality," the team adds. 

Off the field, Wills was well-known among fans and the team's sponsorship community. A few weeks ago, according to the MLB story, Wills took part in the organization's efforts to give back to the community on National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

The Rays will honor Wills with a special pregame tribute this season Details will be announced at a later date.

 

author

Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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