Forty years, 40, the big four O. This is the number of years I’ve started Chicago Cubs spring training sitting in the press box announcing. When I started P.A. Announcing spring games for the Cubs all those years ago, I never dreamed I’d still be here forty years later. So, as I sit and ponder this fortieth spring season, what comes to mind? First off, damn I’m old! Okay, I’m kind of kidding on that. Chronologically speaking, this may be true, but I’ve always subscribed to the Satchel Paige adage: “Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” Beyond the big number, what does starting forty years announcing the Cubs mean to me?
I love the Cubs and baseball, but honestly, it’s the people I’ve met during my four decades that have really made it special. I’ve become friends with so many Cubs fans, Cubs campers, and coworkers, many I don’t see throughout the year, but we pick right up again each spring. I would list their names, but it would be a very long list.
Being involved with the Cubs has allowed me to meet and interact with an interesting array of people, including actor Bill Murray, singing cowboy Gene Autry, hanging out in the homes of Cubs broadcasters Harry Caray and Vince Lloyd, discussing hitting techniques with Rod Carew, conversations with numerous Hall of Fame players such as Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Feller, Dave Winfield, and Globetrotters legend Meadowlark Lemon. Getting an opportunity to do things like, sing-alongs with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, holding Cubs legend Fergie Jenkins Medal of Canada in my own hands. I’ve had the opportunity step up to the plate and hit against pitchers Fergie Jenkins, Lee Smith, Steve Trout, Ryan Dempster, Ed Lynch, and Bob Howry. I’ve played catch with Keith Moreland and Ron Coomer. I announced the Public Address for the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The team gave me a World Series ring after the 2016 Cubs title. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Likely none of that would have happened if it wasn’t for one question: “Who wants to help at Cubs spring training?” Those words were uttered by my college professor in January of 1984. The words were met with an immediate reflexive action as my hand shot into the air…and the rest, as they say, is history. While forty is a fairly sizable amount of years, I feel like I’m currently at the top of my game. So I plan to keep enjoying this spring fling for as long as I can!
In terms of announcing highlights, it has been my great pleasure to announce:
58 Cubs All-Stars
45 Hall of Fame Members
23 World Series teams from the Cactus League
17 Cubs winning seasons
17 Cubs Gold Glove Players
11 Cubs playoff teams
5 Cubs MVPs
5 Cubs ROY winners
4 Cubs Cy Young winners
1 Cubs incredible World Series winning team
And for my fortieth year announcing Cubs spring training, I’ve created a special 40 year anniversary baseball card. Below are both sides of the card (without the black border you see). If you want one, let me know at [email protected]