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Jack Brickhouse: Wikis


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John Beasley "Jack" Brickhouse (January 24, 1916 – August 6, 1998) was an American sportscaster. Known primarily for his play-by-play coverage of Chicago Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948 to 1981, he received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

Brickhouse also called Chicago White Sox games prior to that team leaving WGN in 1968. He also covered national events from time to time, including three World Series for NBC television, although the Cubs never got there during his tenure. The voice on the audio track of the famous Willie Mays catch in Game 1 of the 1954 Series at the Polo Grounds belongs to Brickhouse, who was calling the Series along with the New York Giants' regular broadcaster, Russ Hodges. Brickhouse also called the 1959 Series, which featured the White Sox, with Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and the 1950 Series with Jim Britt. In addition, Brickhouse partnered with fellow baseball broadcasting legend Mel Allen for NBC's coverage of the 1952 Rose Bowl.

Brickhouse also covered many other events, sports and otherwise (such as professional wrestling for WGN and political conventions for the Mutual radio network). And for many years he called Chicago Bears football on WGN-AM radio, in an unlikely and entertaining pairing with the famous Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Irv Kupcinet. Brickhouse was also a boxing commentator. Fights he called include the 1949 fight between Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles and the 1951 fight between Johnny Bratton and Charley Fusari [1]. He did Chicago Bulls basketball games for WGN-TV from 1966 until 1973 as well.



Brickhouse was born in Peoria, Illinois to Will and Daisy Brickhouse. His father died when Jack was just two years old, and the younger Brickhouse was largely raised by his mother. Brickhouse's first job was delivering the Peoria Journal and Peoria Star, a job he took during the Great Depression at age 11. Brickhouse attended Peoria Manual High School.

Brickhouse began his broadcasting at the age of 18 at Peoria radio station WMBD in 1934. Chicago radio station WGN hired him in 1940 to broadcast Cubs and White Sox games, largely on the recommendation of their top announcer, Bob Elson. He was also the very first face shown when WGN-TV, Chicago's Channel 9, began broadcasting in 1948. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II, and thus missed the 1945 season, the only time during his long tenure that the Cubs would win the National League pennant. His only pennant as a broadcaster would be the one won by the White Sox in 1959.

Brickhouse broadcast both Cubs and White Sox games until 1967—something he was able to do because they almost never played at home on the same day. He retired in 1981.

Broadcasting style

Brickhouse tried to let the pictures speak for themselves. In contrast, his successor as Cubs announcer, Harry Caray, a radio broadcaster by training, tended to describe the game on TV as if he were doing a radio broadcast. Brickhouse was sparer with his descriptive prose; perhaps not as spare as Vin Scully of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but talking in quick bursts rather than long sentences, knowing that the well-established camera work of WGN-TV and of producer Arne Harris would tell much of the story.

Instead of over-describing the action, "Brick" was more likely to add "flavor" to what was obviously happening, with almost child-like enthusiasm. He would pepper his play-by-play with various old-fashioned expressions, such as "Whew, boy!" after a close play that went the home team's way, or "Oh, brother!" when it went the other way, or "Wheeeee!" when the team would do something well.

He was best known for the expression "Hey-hey", which he reportedly used everywhere... when the baseball team hit a homer, when the football team scored a touchdown, or even when he was taking tricks in a card game. But it was that home run call that stuck in fans' memories, and that phrase now vertically adorns the screens on the foul poles at Wrigley Field.

Chicago columnist and lifelong Cubs fan Mike Royko's annual Cubs quiz, April 11, 1968, included the following question:

Q: Quick - When a ball goes over the left-field wall, what street does it land on?
A: Waveland Avenue. But to hear Jack Brickhouse yell, you'd think it landed in his eye.

(One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko, University of Chicago, 1999, p. 29-31)

Some examples of Brick's calls:

September 22, 1959; White Sox at Cleveland in the 9th inning of what would be the A.L. championship pennant-clinching game.

"(Carrol) Hardy on second, (Jimmy) Piersall on first, and 'dangerous' Vic Power is up ... one out. Power ... is 1 for 4, an infield single ... there's a ground ball ... (Luis) Aparicio has it ... steps on second, throws to first ... THE BALL GAME'S OVER! THE WHITE SOX ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF 1959! A FORTY YEAR ... WAIT HAS NOW ENDED!"

May 15, 1960; pitcher Don Cardwell, in his Cubs debut, is trying to get the last out of a no-hitter, against the St. Louis Cardinals; the batter is Joe Cunningham; the left fielder is Walt "Moose" Moryn...

  • "Watch it now ... Hit on a line to left ... Come on, Moose! ... HE CAUGHT IT! Moryn made a fabulous catch! ... It's a no-hitter for Cardwell! ... What a catch that Moryn made, what a catch he made!"

December 15, 1963; Bears defensive back Dave Whitsell makes a key play that wins the game over Detroit, and clinches the Western Conference for the Bears...

  • "Here's the pass ... picked off by Whitsell! ... HE'S GONNA GO! ... HE'S GONNA GO! ... TOUCHDOWN! ... HEY-HEY!"

May 12, 1970; Atlanta's Pat Jarvis pitches to "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks...

  • "Jarvis fires away ... That's a fly ball, deep to left, back, back ... HEY-HEY! He did it! Ernie Banks got number 500! The ball tossed to the bullpen ... everybody on your feet ... this ... is IT! WHEEEEEEE!"
Cubs broadcasters, June 11, 1981 - Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, Milo Hamilton, Jack Brickhouse


Following brain surgery on March 3, 1998 to remove a tumor, he died in Chicago, Illinois from cardiac arrest.

External links


  1. ^

"Jack Brickhouse - A Voice For All Seasons" by Janice A. Petterchak, Contemporary Books, Inc., 1996, 226 pages. ISBN 0-8092-3207-3

Preceded by
Vin Scully
Ford C. Frick Award
Succeeded by
Curt Gowdy


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