Cubs fans have been blessed with talented announcers
|Saturday, April 11, 2020, 8:01 AM- -|
The Cubs are known as one of the most storied franchises in the MLB and have also been among the most fortunate in terms of those who have brought the games to the fans — especially on TV.
While there have been a handful of extremely talented announcers that have broadcasts Cubs games on TV, the Cubs have mainly been anchored by three play by play men over the past 73 years.
WGN began broadcasting Cubs games in 1948, and from then until the 1980s, Jack Brickhouse was the voice of the Cubs. Known for his extremely energetic calls — Brickhouse provided entertainment for Cubs fans and baseball fans of all ages in the early years of WGN.
He did not get to call many games when the Cubs were very good, but he was the voice behind some of the most iconic moments in Cubs games. Whether it was the iconic "Hey Hey" call following home runs or the memorable call of Ernie Banks' 500th home run — Brickhouses' sound and voice resonates with Cubs fans.
As a reward for his talent, Brickhouse was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1985.
Taking over for Brickhouse in 1982 was the heralded Harry Caray. Although Caray's career began with various rivals of the Cubs — he nestled in Chicago for the final chapter of his career where he became most well known.
Whether it be his storytelling that sometimes appeared to be interrupted by the game or the laughter that often filled the booth, Caray consistently provided entertainment for Cubs fans. In the 1980s, when most houses had televisions, the hours of 1 pm to 4 pm were likely filled with Harry's voice — which also likely led to the Cubs getting such a large following across the city and the country.
Caray's classic home run call was, "It could be, it might be, it is." He is known for the ever famous "Holy Cow" that accompanied most big plays or the signing of the seventh innings stretch or just the big personality that was guarded by his massive glasses and likely a Budweiser in his hands.
He finished his final game announcing the Cubs at the end of the 1997 season, and he passed away before the season began in 1998.
Caray was recognized with a statue in front of Wrigley Field in 1998 and has since had the broadcaster's booth dedicated to him as well as many steakhouses around the city of Chicago.
From 1990 to 1995, Caray was assisted in the booth by Thom Brennaman — son of Reds long time voice Marty Brennaman. Brennaman helped to keep Caray under control at times and still get to the game — but he quickly accepted a job with a reds affiliate as well as a National gig with Fox calling select baseball and football games.
Following Caray's death, the reigns of the broadcast booth were taken by Harry's grandson Chip Caray. While he may be the most forgettable name on this last, Caray was the voice behind some of the Cubs' most significant moments in the early 2000s.
Caray is best known for his "Swung on there she goes, number 62" call during Sammy Sosa's famous home run chase with Mark McGuire and his "Here comes the hook, got him 20 strikeouts" call of the final out of Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout games.
Caray has since moved on with the Braves following his last season in Chicago, and he passed the keys to the booth to current Cubs announcer, Len Kasper.
Kasper is entering his 15th season calling Cubs games, and he has continued the Cubs' legacy of having exceptional play by play men. Kasper voiced the biggest moments fo my childhood, whether it be Aramis Ramirez walk-off home runs, Derek Lee and Alfonso Soriano going yard, or the more recent heroics of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez — Kasper has been a pleasant addition to all of my memories.
Kasper is known for not really having a home run call but has consistently said "Oh Baby" when he gets extremely excited.
The point is, over the past seven decades, the Cubs have been fortunate enough to have their stories told by four incredibly talented men, and all ears have been lucky to hear it.
As far as the radio home of the Cubs, fellow iconic broadcasters Milo Hamilton, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, and Lloyd Pettit alternated select Cubs games from the radio booth from the 1950s up until the late 80s (as they also did some work with the Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks) Pettit is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Boudreau is in the baseball Hall of Fame and Milo Hamilton, who was better known for his time with the Astros, is also in baseball's Hall of Fame. A few announcers covered the gams for the next few years before Brennaman began calling some games on the radio and alternating between TV and Radio, before 1996, when the Cubs hired Pat Hughes, who has been the radio voice of the Cubs ever since.
Hughes' smooth voice and extremely descriptive detail is soothing for Cubs fans to hear, but also hearing him say, "This ball's got a chaaaance...GONE!" Or "Get out the tape measure, LONG gone!" can certainly bring excitement.
Of all of these famous and iconic announcers, just Hughes has said, "The Chicago Cubs win the World Series," but all of them have contributed to the franchise that finally got it done in that 2016 season.