Giving former Chicago Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse some love

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /

Most Chicago Cubs fans have probably noticed the prominent “Hey Hey” displayed on the foul pole at Wrigley Field but unless you are an old far—uh, fan, like I am, you may not know where it comes from.

“Hey, hey!” was the signature catch phrase of Jack Brickhouse, longtime Cubs announcer on radio and starting in 1948, on TV for WGN. I grew up watching the Cubs on WGN so it is natural that more than any other announcer, Brickhouse’s voice is the one I associate with a televised Cubs game.

Since they almost never played at home on the same days, he also did White Sox games for WGN until 1964.

Before you protest, I’m not discounting Harry Caray’s time as the voice of the Cubs. Harry took over when Jack retired in 1981 and I loved Harry. But Brickhouse saying, “Oh boy!” when a play went wrong or “Whee!” is just so familiar to me. And I can still hear him shouting “Hey hey, Ernie!” when Ernie Banks hit a home-run.

Chicago Cubs: Jack Brickhouse holds a special place in fans’ hearts

In 1985 Brickhouse was inducted in the American Sportscasters Association Hall in the Baseball Hall of Fame along with such notables as Mel Allen and Curt Gowdy. He received the Ford C. Frick Award from the HOF in 1983.

Brickhouse was the announcer for many other sports events over the years, including three World Series for NBC television. It’s Brickhouse’s voice you hear on the audio track of Willie Mays famous catch in Game 1 of the Fall Classic at the Polo Grounds in 1954.

Notably among his other sports, Brickhouse was the commentator on the famous fight between Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles in 1949.

It is perhaps ironic that Brickhouse collapsed while preparing to attend the funeral for Harry Caray in 1998. He was diagnosed with a blood clot, underwent surgery and immediately improved significantly. Though he appeared to have recovered, he suffered a heart attack six months later and passed away. That same year, quite fittingly, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

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For me, Brickhouse’s spare descriptions of the play on the field and his signature phrases like “Hey hey!” will always remain the most familiar sound from a Chicago Cubs broadcast.