On the heels of the National Sports Media Association announcing its 2023 Sportscaster of the Year winners, Jeff Agrest of the Sun-Times unveiled his own Illinois sportscaster power rankings - and that list is headlined by none other than the longtime radio voice of the Chicago Cubs, Pat Hughes.
Hughes, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2023 as the Ford C. Frick Award recipient, offers a daily masterclass in his craft. A perfect blend of seemingly endless baseball knowledge and charming personality, Hughes has brought Cubs games into the homes of fans via the airwaves for decades now.
"New rule: Induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame guarantees the inductee the top spot in the following year’s rankings. The Cubs’ radio voice received the Ford C. Frick award for “major contributions to baseball” by a broadcaster. Hughes has contributed context, detail, description, humor and knowledge, all with a comforting yet excitable voice. He is the essence of baseball on the radio."- Jeff Agrest on Pat Hughes
With the accessibility issue finally addressed via a direct streaming option, the main play-by-play presence on Marquee Sports Network gets his due in Agrest's rankings, as well, with Boog Sciambi ranking third in the state in his craft.
Chicago Cubs have two of the best in Pat Hughes, Boog Sciambi
Boog replaced longtime Cubs TV voice Len Kasper ahead of the 2021 season, bringing decades of experience with him to the North Side. He and Jim DeShaies work together well, but Boog handles the constant changing of the guard in the booth on a day-to-day basis flawlessly. He's been a welcome addition to the long time of TV voices we've come to know and love over the years.
"“Boog” had a big year, finally calling meaningful Cubs games in September on Marquee Sports Network and becoming the national radio voice of the World Series for ESPN Radio. He and Jim Deshaies are a delightful listen, providing equal parts insight and entertainment."- Jeff Agrest on Boog Sciambi
A few other Cubs-related names make appearances on the list - one with praise, the other with major criticisms. Radio producer and part-time play-by-play man Zach Zaidman gets noted for his improved calls on Cubs games at #17 - but Marquee pre and post-game host Cole Wright gets raked over the coals by Agrest in brutal fashion.
All in all, though, the Cubs have done a good job of making sure there hasn't been a dip in quality, even as they've struggled to get Marquee on solid ground. Hughes' voice is the soundtrack of summer on 670 WSCR, while Boog continues to write the next chapter of his impressive career on the TV side of things.