May 27, 2024

Jim Caple, a noted baseball writer who spent 17 years at ESPN, died Sunday, his wife wrote on social media. He was 61.

Caple covered 20 World Series for ESPN, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He also covered a half-dozen Olympic Games. He closed his career writing for The Athletic.

He was also one of the most popular columnists for ESPN.com’s Page 2, where he took a lighter look at sports and rarely missed a chance to poke fun at the New York Yankees. He turned that into a book, “The Devil Wears Pinstripes.” He also co-wrote the book “Best Boston Sports Arguments” with fellow sportswriter Steve Buckley and penned a novel, “The Navigator,” which was based in part on his father, who was a B-24 navigator in World War II.

“My person, best friend and husband died on Sunday afternoon,” his wife, Vicki, wrote on the Facebook account of her husband. “We all love Jim Caple so much and he loved you. Many great times, laughs and adventures with all of us with Jim. Go in peace my love.”

Caple’s family said on social media he had ALS and dementia.

Caple wrote for ESPN from 2001 to ’17.

“Jim was an amazing and prolific writer who always found the joy in sports,” Kevin Jackson, a former vice president at ESPN and Caple’s longtime editor, said. “Whether he was writing about baseball, the Olympics, the NCAA Tournament or his beloved Tour de France, Jim cared deeply about the games we play, but he never took them too seriously.”

Former colleague and fellow baseball writer Jerry Crasnick recalled Caple as “one of the most brilliant, creative and thoughtful people I’ve ever met” in a poignant social media post. He also recalled Caple’s offbeat side, including stories of getting a pedicure with figure skater Johnny Weir and participating in the International Wife Carrying championships with Vicki.

Caple graduated from the University of Washington and was inducted into his high school Hall of Fame at R.A. Long in Longview, Washington, in 2020.

Service arrangements are pending.

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