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Beloved broadcaster Simmons celebrates 90th birthday

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants devoted a pregame moment Friday to honoring an individual who has meant as much to the organization as any of their Hall of Fame ballplayers: Former broadcaster Lon Simmons, who turned 90 on Friday.

Simmons received a standing ovation from early-arriving patrons at AT&T Park after his call of the final out of the Giants-Dodgers 1962 playoff was replayed over the public-address system and the corresponding video appeared on the Diamond Vision screen.

Recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in 2004, Simmons flashed his characteristic, self-deprecating sense of humor in a chat with reporters.

"Fans of a certain age tell me that they used to take their transistor radios to bed and fall asleep listening to me," said Simmons, who was at the microphone for the Giants' debuts at Seals Stadium (1958), Candlestick Park (1960) and Pacific Bell Park (2000). "I tell them that I used to put people to sleep all the time."

Simmons also threw the ceremonial first pitch. Formerly a Minor League pitching prospect in the Phillies organization, Simmons stood a few feet in front of the mound and one-hopped Sergio Romo with his toss.

Chris Haft is a reporter for
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