Fans attending this weekend’s CIAC Baseball Championships will no longer be treated to the expert monotone incantations of Jim Bransfield. The voice of Palmer Field as well as the voice the state baseball championships for decades died February 24 after a bout with cancer.
So, in memory of Bransfield’s life and his career, another Connecticut broadcasting legend will step up to the mic to serve as this year’s public address announcer at Palmer Field.
WTIC 1080-AM’s Joe D’Ambrosio, widely known as voice of the UConn Huskies for 26 years until last month, will take over public address duties in tribute to his longtime friend.
Shortly after Bransfield’s death, as people wondered aloud who would take over announcing at the state finals, D’Ambrosio said he contacted mutual friend Mike DiMauro, the longtime columnist at The Day of New London, who’d known Bransfield since he was a student at Xavier High School.
“I wanted to do it from the moment Jimmy passed away,” D’Ambrosio said. “I wanted to be the guy to pick up the mantle.”
DiMauro put D’Ambrosio touch with Fred Balsamo, the former CIAC baseball committee chairman, who asked the CIAC’s baseball committee. Just a few weeks ago, Balsalmo told D’Ambrosio and the CIAC would love to have him as the voice of Palmer Field for championship weekend.
“I’m excited,” said D’Ambrosio, who first met Bransfield while working WLIS in Old Saybrook in the early 1980s. “(Bransfield) was the voice of God everywhere. We became good friends. Obviously, you had the Yankees friendship between us. We were part of a blog I created among Yankees fans called ‘The Pinstripe Brethren.’
“Jimmy was the most — I don’t want to say devoted — but outspoken, most emotional component of the group.”
The Pinstripe Brethren met yearly for dinner with New York Yankees announcer John Sterling at the Capital Grille in Stamford. It was at last year’s meeting in December that Bransfield told D’Ambrosio and DiMauro he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He died just two months later.
“It’s still hard to believe that he’s gone,” D’Ambrosio said. “But I’m really looking forward to doing as good a job on the weekend as I can in his memory.”
D’Ambrosio said he’ll call the games precisely as Bransfield had done it for decades: “No nonsense… no circus barker. Facts and figures. Straight,” D’Ambrosio said. “And that’s the best way to pay tribute to an amazing guy.”