Chicago Baseball Museum

July 31, 2007 A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization   VOLUME 2007 ISSUE 3  
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A “Hey-Hey!” for Jack Brickhouse
John Ely Homecoming
Collecting Chicago
The Business of Baseball
Beer and Baseball: A Look Back
Casey Crosby
A Chicago Tavern
Andrew "Rube" Foster Excerpt
Wrigley Field's Last World Series
Pre-National League Excerpt
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A “Hey-Hey!” for Jack Brickhouse
by Dave Schwan

Ask anyone who the players were on their home team growing up and they’ll tell you. Then ask them who called the games on their local radio or TV station and it’s a good bet they can tell you that, too. For us Cubs fans growing up in the 1960s, it was, of course, Jack Brickhouse on WGN-TV. He seemed to be as much a part of the team as Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Randy Hundley, on and on. Growing up near Chicago and wanting to get into broadcasting, Jack was doing a kind of double-duty for me: calling the game and adding to the fun with his signature “Hey! Hey!” but also showing me how to be a broadcaster. As a broadcaster, Jack was--and is--tough to beat.

First entering “the business” in Peoria, Illinois in 1934, Jack learned his craft doing everything, becoming the youngest sportscaster in the nation. Making his way to Chicago in 1940, he became the first voice heard on WGN-TV when it signed on in 1948. By the time I was watching in the 1960s, Jack had long been a master of play-by-play announcing. But there was more to it than calling strikes and balls and giving the stats before going into a commercial break every half-inning. I well remember Jack brilliantly filling time during a rain delay, telling stories and bringing players, managers and umpires into the booth for a friendly chat. Or, if no one was available to talk, he’d fill the time himself! In doing all this, he was teaching untold thousands of kids like me the game, as well as giving this kid a lesson or two about the business of broadcasting.

Jack’s own statistics on the number of games he covered could well be unmatched: 40 years broadcasting the Cubs, 27 years for the White Sox, 24 years for the Bears, before leaving the booth in 1981. And he was just as much a fixture in the WGN studios anchoring sportscasts and interviewing players. I had the honor of meeting the man in the mid-1980s, working for Tribune Radio Networks, a division of the Tribune Company, which owns WGN. Jack’s long-time colleagues Jack Rosenberg and Vince Lloyd, his play-by-play counterpart on WGN radio, set up the Cubs Radio Network, with affiliates nationwide. Jack would visit them from time to time and it was always an honor and pleasure for me to say hello to him. He in turn was as gracious as they come, wanting to know what I did there and encouraging me to continue, as did Jack (Rosenberg) and Vince. All three were consummate professionals, knowing that treating everyone with respect and dignity was just as important as knowing the ins and outs of your trade.

It’s now more than 25 years since Jack left the broadcast booth. Between the time of his “retirement” and his death in 1998, he remained active in various capacities, including broadcasting. He will always be remembered in many ways, among them the “Hey! Hey!” signs posted on the foul posts at Wrigley Field, or the magnificent memorial with his likeness outside Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue, seated behind the microphone, calling yet another game and looking as if he’s loving every moment. Now the latest tribute, coordinated by Jack’s gracious wife Pat, is a meal: the Brickhouse Chicken served exclusively at the 200 East Supper Club in the Seneca Hotel, at 200 East Chestnut, in Chicago. Anyone who orders the dish automatically receives a specially designed baseball with Jack’s likeness, as well as his trademark “Hey! Hey!” imprinted on it.

All this is appropriate, reflecting Jack’s love of people, sports and life in general. But perhaps just as important are the memories carried by any number of fans who fondly recall Jack announcing innumerable games and showing us what they were all about: fun. Those memories, boosted by the priceless video clips of Jack’s broadcasts, will ensure Jack’s legacy as a broadcaster--and as a human being--for years to come.


Dave Schwan is a Chicago writer and broadcaster, working in the news departments of WGN Radio and the Illinois Radio Network. His forthcoming Website: will feature travel articles, photos, audio clips and reviews of happenings around Chicago. It will be up and running this August.

The Brickhouse Chicken dish introduced at the 200 East Supper Club in the Seneca Hotel. (photo courtesy of the OTBAC)
The Brickhouse Chicken dish introduced at the 200 East Supper Club in the Seneca Hotel. (photo courtesy of the OTBAC)
Published by Dr. David J. Fletcher
Copyright © 2007 Chicago Baseball Museum. All rights reserved.
The Chicago Baseball Museum is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
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