End of an era: Len Kasper, Steve Stone discuss impact of Cubs baseball on WGN

CHICAGO – As of Friday, WGN’s storied run broadcasting the Cubs comes to a close.

From the start of the 1948 season, to the 2016 World Series, to today, WGN is very proud of what the station has meant to Cubs fans in Chicago and across the country. 

Announcers Steve Stone and Len Kasper recently sat down to discuss the impact of the Cubs on WGN.

Since 1983, former Cy Young Award winner Steve Stone has broadcasted for WGN on both sides of town.

"For as long as I’ve been alive, WGN has been showing Cubs baseball,” Stone said. "That's pretty amazing to me."

Coming off pitching for the Giants, Cubs, White Sox and Orioles, Stone jumped right into the booth with a charismatic older partner... Harry Caray.

"I thought he was a wonderful character, it really never occurred to me that it would be a problem or be difficult. I liked him, I knew that he was bombastic, I knew that he was a true character of the game... and I looked forward to it," Stone said.

Cubs baseball really exploded across the country in 1984. With the emergence of Ryne Sandberg, Dallas Green's deadline deal for Rick Sutcliffe, manager Jim Frey's leadership and more, the Cubs won their first division title since 1945.  Caray and Stone were there every step of the way.

"The Cubs are the champions, the Cubs win, look at that mob scene... Rick Sutcliffe’s 14th in a row! 16-1 for the year. He faced only 28 men, he pitched a two-hitter,” Caray said immediately after “The Red Baron’s” iconic performance.

Stone continued to work with a familiar face in the booth after Harry Caray's death, Caray's grandson Chip.

Since 2005, Len Kasper has been the voice of the Cubs on television and felt the weight of the organization's popularity on his very first day.

"I walked into Wrigley Field and everyone knew my name (laughter). And I didn't know who anybody was... but all the fans knew who I was," Kasper said. "I think it's the power of WGN and the Cubs."

Being able to broadcast Cubs baseball is an honor Kasper doesn't take lightly.

"Basically, there's been four main announcers of Cubs baseball in the course of 72 years. So it's an honor that I've never taken lightly. It means a lot to me to to walk into this booth everyday. And to wear that WGN logo has been a big part of my career and my life," Kasper said.

Expect to see Len and Steve in their respective chairs next season, but for the first time in 72 years, the WGN logo will be absent.

The final WGN broadcast of Cubs baseball will take place Friday at 7 p.m. on the road against the Cardinals.

Thank you for everything Cubs fans.

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