Chi-Town Sportscaster: The Good, the Bad and the Horrendous.
Okay, here's the drill. Grab a bottle of Jack Daniels. Call up 4-5 of your pool room pals, and get ready for an argument that may last as long as the average Jerry Lewis Telethon.
In today's episode we aren't going to chat about sportscasters, we're going to rate sportscasters. Now, I wasn't around when my hero and pal, Jack Brickhouse, did his first Cubs telecast back in 1948, but I feel like I have enough background to lay out a scorecard on 50 years of sportscasters. And, by sportscasters I mean the guys who cover the tabs on the 5-6-9 and 10.
Let's face it, sports anchor men are just like Notre Dame Football, the New York Yankees or the Tea party. There is no in between. You either love an anchor or you'd like to see him pistol whipped. There should be no in between.
In fact, a 'tweener' is the worst thing a sports anchor can be. It means he or she has no impact. No impact is the equivalent of a wrestling match between two baby faces or enduring 15 minutes of Newt Gingrich.
So, from bottom to top, have your pencil and scorecard ready.
The Gutter Ball Division:
#30. Jill Carlson, WBBM. Has been known to confuse golf tees with football cleats. Just kidding.
#29. Bob Hillman, WGN. Never quite lived up to the legacies of Jack, Harry, Vince and Lou or the receptionist.
#28. Sid Garcia, WGN. Truthfully, it was more fun watching a test pattern than it was watching Sid fumble through a script.
#27. Ryan Baker, WBBM. His overbearing style of writing makes running your finger nails down a blackboard a pleasant experience.
#26. Peggy Kuzinski, WMAQ. Surgeons warning: Watching her "cover" the Bears causes drowsiness and anxiety.
*****Bonus pick: Pat Tomasulo, WGN. I yearn for the day when Larry Potash tells the Beaver Cleaver look alike to shut hell up.
The Bumper Pool Division:
#25. Mark Malone, WBBM. The debate still rages. Was he as pathetic quarterbacking the Pittsburgh Steelers as he was at channel 2.
#24. Dan Roan. The high priest of laziness. The next story he breaks will be his first.
#23. Daryl Hawks, WMAQ. Had tremendous potential. Left us much too soon. He could have truly been special.
#22. Dave Eanet. Caddies for Rich King when Rich isn't available to cover for Dan Roan. Nice guy, just not really, shall we say, "electric."
#21. Mark Schanowski, WLS. .260 hitter with 17 homers and 64 RBI’s. Has found a niche at Comcast.
The "Won't get you beat" Division.
#20. Mike Adamle, WMAQ. How can a 62 year old man look 17 years of age? Has a tremendous degree of likeability.
#19. Megan Mawike, WBBM. The most improved anchor in the market. Has significantly upped her game.
#18. Jon Kelley, WMAQ. The greatest running back turned sportscaster in Nebraska football history.
#17. Wendell Smith, WGN. Defined the word "gentleman." Has never been given the credit he deserves for helping Branch Rickey usher Jackie Robinson into the bigs.
#16 Rick Talley, WGN. Hack columnist with the long gone Chicago Today. Did have some muscle behind the "desk."
#15. Rich Brenner, WMAQ. We tag teamed together at channel 5. R.B. was a high wire bundle of energy.
"The combined Hawk Harrelson-Steve Stone Division."
#14. Bruce Wolf, WFLD and WMAQ. Still puts on a great act with his unique brand of shtick. Plays better on radio than he does on the tube.
#13. Vince Lloyd, WGN. Long time Cubs TV and radio announcer. Seldom anchored, but when he did you knew you were watching somebody special.
#12, Bill Frink, WLS and WGN TV. The kind of guy you'd want to chat with at a local gin mill. A truly nice man. Solid Pro. No jazzy commentary, “Just the facts ma'am."
#11. Howard Sudberry, WBBM. Terribly underrated. Got knifed when channel 2 gave its number one sportscasters job to the hopeless Mark Malone.
#10. Darrian Chapman. Tragically died of a heart attack. Was as much a fan as he was a broadcaster.
"The Luxury Suites Division."
#9. Jim Rose, WLS TV. Channel 5 tried to hire him before he landed at 7. Prolific on-air confidence. Surprisingly has improved his skills over the past four or five years.
#8. Duane Dow, WLS TV. Was red hot back in the early 70's before he made the move to Washington D.C. Sadly he lost and never regained the Mojo once he left Chicago.
#7. Lou Canellis, WFLD. I love his energy level and his commitment. He's a guy who truly paid his dues.
#6a Chet Coppock, WMAQ. I had three great years at channel 5 before several anchors on our news desk -why name names? They know who they are - decided to run to G.M. Monte Newman to have me thrown off the boat. I played hard ball against Johnny Morris and Tim Weigel. It was anchor wars time.
Competition that we enjoyed no longer exists. Peggy Kuzinski? Competition? Please.
6. Corey McPherrin, WFLD. Tremendous rhythm. Why Fox bumped him to the mornings is beyond me.
A 'caster who gives you the goods but doesn't regard sports as the Viet Nam conflict.
"The Maserati Division."
#5 Bruce Roberts, WBBM. Magnificent writer. Smooth as silk. Do you recall his trademark phrase, "And it had eyes!"
#4a Rich King, WGN. Consummate pro. Shoud have Dan Roan's job
#4. Tim Weigel, WMAQ, WLS, WBBM. World class competitor. His "Weigel Wieners" were classic.
#3. Jack Brickhouse. To call him a sportscaster is an insult. Brick remains the most complete broadcaster in Chicago history.
"The Ali-Frazier Division."
#2. Mark Giangreco, WMAQ and WLS. I loved working with him at channel 5. No matter what channel 7 pays him it really isn't enough. Prolific.
#1. Brent Musburger, WBBM. Long before he became a network fixture, Brent anchored at channel 2. Never used a script. Was a hard ball player, yet jocks and coaches were crazy about him.
Failed to make the cut: Johnny Morris, WMAQ and WBBM. If he hadn't worn number 47 for the Bears he would have worked the night shift at a gyros joint.
Star on the rise: Pat Boyle, Comcast. The time has come for Larry Wert and channel 5 to make him the station's primary anchor.
Anchors in waiting: Carmen DeFalco, ESPN 1000 and David Haugh, Chicago Tribune.
What? You don't like the list? Hey my house, my game. Show me what you got! Hmmm, did I leave out Chuck Swirsky?