Remembering Jack Brickhouse
Since the Cubs are honoring Jack Brickhouse today and it’s Hall of Fame induction weekend, here is Jack’s 1983 induction speech. Written for him by Jack Rosenberg, it tells you all you need to know about Chicago’s greatest broadcaster:
I feel at this moment like a man who is sixty feet, six inches tall.
On a clear day at this quaint, central New York village, you can hear and see and feel the echoes of baseball’s storied past.
The atmosphere to me is breathless and humbling.
It has been my privilege to broadcast the exploits of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox for 40 years or more. There, in Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park, I have experienced the joy and the heartbreak – probably more of the latter than the former – but Chicago and its beautifully loyal fans have had a resiliency which has kindled a perpetual flame of hope.
In the fantasy of my dreams, I have imagined myself as the announcer of a Cubs-White Sox World Series, a Series that would last seven games, with the final game going into extra innings before being suspended of darkness at Wrigley Field.
Even as I accept this award, my life as a broadcaster flashes before me. The drum beats on. The cities change. The boundaries change. The stadia change. The faces change. The announcers change. But the game remains essentially the same. Nine men on a side, three strikes and you’re out. It’s a contradiction baseball is. It can be the simplest game, yet it can be the most involved. It is the game I love.
The trains, the planes, the cabs, the buses – they have carried me millions of miles through the years to get me to where I most wanted to be – the ballgame. A reporter told me once that even if I didn’t make it to Cooperstown, my suitcase probably would. Fortunately for me, we arrived together.
And I knew I was in the right place almost immediately. I saw a blur. That had to be Brooks Robinson going to his left. I saw a clutch base hit. That had to be George Kell. I saw a majestic high kick on the mound. That had to be Juan Marichal. I saw a quiet, firm image in the dugout. That had to be Walter Alston. I saw a typewriter or was it a VDT? That had to be Sy Burick. For a boy from Peoria to have his name intertwined with theirs…well, only in America.
It is with the deepest sincerity I thank my company, the WGN Continental Broadcasting Company in Chicago, for believing in the entertainment value of baseball on radio and television and for believing in me. You will pardon my pride if I insist our call letters – WGN – are the most respected in the nation. Countless people at WGN and elsewhere have brought me to this broadcasting pinnacle today. You know who you are and you have my undying gratitude.
Here on a memorable afternoon in Cooperstown, my heart tells me I have traveled the ninety feet from third to home and scored standing up. Thank you very much.