Longtime radio announcer Dave Wills passed away today at age 58, the Rays announced. Wills has been the voice of the Rays since 2005, teaming with partner Andy Freed to work in alternating play-by-play/color roles for the last 18 seasons.
“Dave was an outstanding broadcaster, a great friend and an even better person. 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,” said Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.
A Chicago native, Wills worked as a baseball coach at Elmhurst College and the University of Chicago before taking on play-by-play duties with the Kane County Cougars (then an A-ball affiliate for the Orioles and Marlins) from 1991-95. Wills’ other duties for the WMAQ and WMVP stations included pregame and postgame duties for Notre Dame football and basketball, and well as White Sox baseball, with Wills also getting some fill-in work for regular radio broadcaster John Rooney.
Today’s scheduled radio broadcast of the game between the Rays and Orioles won’t take place, and the Rays will honor Wills with a special pregame tribute at some point during the 2023 season. We at MLB Trade Rumors extend our condolences to Wills’ family, friends, and fans.
Terrible news, RIP Dave, thanks for the memories.
Way too young. RIP!
So young. RIP Sir. And condolences to family and friends at this horrible, horrible time.
TERRY MULHOLLAND FAN CLUB PRESIDENT
Wow, he passed away too young. I listened to the Rays radio broadcast the past few years when they were in the playoffs and was very impressed. RIP.
all in the suit that you wear
He was pretty good. RIP.
Dread Pirate Roberts
That’s awful news,Rip. Mr.Wills.
Terrible news. Way too young. My age.
Dave was one of the best. His knowledge and wit made listening to the game on the radio seem like you were there. Tragic loss for Rays fans and baseball!! RIP sir!
A Midwest League hero, so sad to hear.
Hired Gun 23
I have listened to dozens of broadcasters over the years in different markets (xm radio ect) he was very close to being the best…RIP
This one belongs to the Reds
Goodness. So young. RIP.
GOAT Closer Esteban Yan
Wow, Wills and Freed were so good together. I always mute the games so I can listen to their analysis. Nobody has a deeper knowledge of Rays history and I loved their honest assessment of the state of things. Even when they were bored with the games, their idle musings were funny and interesting. This is a tragic loss for Rays fans. He will be missed.
I attended a game at Shea Stadium in 2000 in which Esteban Yan hit a dinger!
GOAT Closer Esteban Yan
I remember watching that game on tv. It was a pretty freak thing since he was a relief pitcher. It had to be one of his only at bats in his career.
He actually started and went 5 innings that day. He hit it in the top of the second inning.
GOAT Closer Esteban Yan
Wow! Gotta love the Devil Rays days when they had no other alternative than to give Esteban Yan a spot start. Those were dark times. 4 earned runs in five innings was probably a pretty good start for that team.
Like losing a good friend, It will never be the same listening to a Rays game.
He was a big WSox fan whose postgame shows with the frustrated radio callers (especially after losses) were classic. This was before they finally ended the WSeries victory drought in ’05 when fans were really on edge, so he deserved hazard pay. God bless him and his family/friends passing away too young.
Must have been heart-relatsd. I know he was doagnosed with a heart condition in late 2022 and was overweight.
Outstanding broadcaster who always sounded like he was enjoying every moment of his job. He made the broadcasts fun and not life and death. RIP to a great one.
We were at TD Ballpark in Dunedin when we got this horrible news. Much too young. Dave will be missed.
Our condolences to his family and friends.
RIP Dave, White Sox fans still miss you.
Man, they were my favorite broadcast team. In this era where you can listen to ANY radio team with an XM subscription, I think they were the best team out there. Tom Campbell is probably my favorite primary play-by-play guy, but this TEAM of Wills and Freed were better than the CLE team. I will miss him badly. I continue to follow the Rays closely, due to their low-cost, high-achieving strategy, even though I am a West Coast guy. I love listening to baseball on the radio, while I do things around the house and garage. I don’t know many TV broadcast announcers, for this reason. I grew up with baseball on the radio in the 60s…..and that is still my favorite medium for enjoying it. But once the playoffs come around, I have to watch.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Sad news, his enthusiasm for his hometown Sox was palpable on the air, and he always maintained a cheerful attitude on air and with fans. He deservedly got top dog status in Tampa. RIP big fella!
Will miss the team of Dave & Andy broadcasting the Rays games however, am sure that Andy will continue the legacy with aplomb, grace and dignity. RIP Dave – enjoy the game for all eternity…