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NSA Hall of Fame: Jim “Papa” Hopson (2001)

CATEGORY: Umpire

YEAR INDUCTED: 2001

AWARDS WON:

  • 1992 Mike Pascuzzi Award (Slow pitch Umpire of the Year)


Jim Hopson a native of Yazoo City, Mississippi, and a resident of Austin Texas, worked his first Men’s Major World Series in Austin, in August of 1988.  From that point on Jim Hopson became the umpire by which all umpires were measured at the NSA Major World Series.  Jim worked the Men’s Major World Series a record 8 times until his retirement in 2001.  During his tenure, he was assigned more plate games at the Major World Series than any other umpire.  Jim worked the finals at the World Series an incredible 8 times out of the 8 appearances.  Jim has the distinction of being one of only two umpires as of 2001 to work the Men’s Major World Series in 3 different decades spanning from 1988 – 2001. 

Jim came up through the ranks of an umpire just as all umpires do.  Jim worked countless local league and tournament games, sometimes as many as 700 games a year.  He worked countless lower classed World Tournaments, State Tournaments, Qualifying Tournaments, NIT’s and Super World Series Tournaments; most of which he worked the finals.  Jim became the stuff legends are made of in and around Austin, Texas.  Jim became so legendary, the umpires of Texas nicknamed him “Papa”, simply because Jim was the man.   Jim was voted Pleasant Valley Sportsplex Umpire of the Year, the Texas state Umpire of the Year, Region 8 Umpire of the Year and in 1992, the rest of the country recognized Jim as being the man too, as Jim was voted as the best umpire in the country and was awarded the prestigious Mike Pascuzzi award. 

Jim’s trademark “STRIKE” call is one of the loudest in the business.  Walk into the parking lot of a Minor League baseball stadium where the Major World Series is played or some softball complex in Texas and you could always tell when Jim “Papa” Hopson was in the house.  No matter the level of play, the strike call was the same.  This was indicative of the type of umpire Jim Hopson was.  He gave every team all he had to give, every single night.  Jim’s favorite quote to umpires young and old; was a quote that he penned himself… “Do this for the game and not the fame”.  Jim Hopson has few peers when it comes to umpiring.  He is the type of umpire that most aspire to be but too often fall short of. 

In November of 2001, Jim “Papa” Hopson became the fourth umpire to be inducted into the NSA Hall of Fame.