Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jack Brickhouse, one of the most celebrated and beloved Chicago broadcasters of the 20th century.
Born January 24, 1916, in Peoria, Illinois, John Beasley Brickhouse joined WGN AM 720 in 1940 and spent the next four decades as the eternally optimistic voice of the Chicago Cubs. His “Hey! Hey!” home run call became the clarion of summer.
“He set records that will never be matched,” Brickhouse’s widow, Pat, said in a 2014 remembrance. “Because a guy doesn’t hang around for 40 years with the same team . . . and he had way over 5,000 broadcasts.”
In addition to Cubs baseball, Brickhouse also called Chicago White Sox baseball, Chicago Bears football and Chicago Bulls basketball, among many other sports. His was the first voice heard in 1948 when the Chicago Tribune launched WGN-Channel 9, for which Brickhouse interviewed presidents, prime ministers and popes, and covered five national political conventions.
He was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 1996. He died of cardiac arrest on August 6, 1998, at age 82.
“Jack Brickhouse helped raise a generation of young people with his daily broadcasts,” said longtime friend and former CNN correspondent Dan Ronan, who called him “Chicago’s greatest and most versatile broadcaster.”
“He’s part of the soundtrack of my life,” Ronan said. “Let’s always remember the many joys and sometimes the heartaches he shared with us during the ups and downs of his years behind the microphone.”
What’s your favorite memory of Jack Brickhouse?