Jack Brickhouse not only broadcast the Cubs for over 30 years, from 1948-1981, but he also did the Chicago White Sox games. Not at different times, but during the same. He'd do the play-by-play for maybe 250 games a year. This at a time when not only were there only 156 games in a season, but most baseball teams during those years only aired 20-40 games a year.
But more than that, he also did the play-by-play for Chicago Bears football for many years. He even broadcast the Chicago Bulls basketball on TV for seven years. And he did other local sports. And national sports, as well -- most people have seen the famous footage of Willie Mays making his over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series. If you ever have seen that footage with sound, the announcer calling the play was none other than Jack Brickhouse. He called NFL championship games and even a Rose Bowl. He also did political reporting, covering political conventions, interviewing presidents and more.
There is a great, culminating speech at the end of the great play, Bleacher Bums, that takes place in the right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field during a Cubs game. One of characters (played in the original production by Joe Mantegna) gives a long speech about His Dream, which ends with Ernie Banks coming out of retirement to hit a grand slam home run and win the World Series for the Cubs. It turns out that the speech is adapted fro a statement that Jack Brickhouse once made.
A lot of people dismiss Jack Brickhouse for being a biased "homer" announcer for the Cubs. But when you call games for a team has lost for over 100 years, the last things viewers want is objectivity. One of his famous comments about the Cubs is, "Everybody has a bad century." Yes, he was biased and hugely outgoing but he was also always completely fair, called a great game -- whatever the game -- and was wildly entertaining.
And he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. So for any of his detractors, sorry that you missed the point about how great he was.
Here's a very nice 3-minute tribute that the Chicago ,Tribune put together a few years back with his widow, Pat.
(Side note: It begins with the final out of Don Cardwell's no-hitter for the Cubs. I saw this last inning live. Cardwell had just been traded to the Cubs, and it was his very first start, making the exciting game all the more exciting. But what I remember most is that I was a very little kid at the time, and my older brother John was was incredibly excited after the third out and went running outside shouting to anyone who'd hear, "Cardwell pitched a no-hitter!! Cardwell pitched a no-hitter!!!" And I went right behind him, following his lead, running around the front yard in Glencoe, also shouting out loud full of excitement, "Cardwell pitched a no-hitter!! Cardwell pitched a no-hitter!!!" And what I clearly remember -- and I swear this is true -- is that while doing this, I was thinking to myself, "What is a no-hitter??"}
Here then is Jack Brickhouse. On his 100th birthday. Back, back, back...Hey, hey!!!
And as a bonus, here is Jack Brickhouse's call of The Catch by Willie Mays on the national broadcast of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Vic Wertz of Cleveland is at the plate.
And Jack Brickhouse is at the mic.