Jim O'Donnell: Inspired Bob Sirott pushing for permanent Jack Rosenberg memorial
THERE ARE CHIP SHOTS in life and then there are two-inch "gimmes" that even an overweight Sumo wrestler could wheeze in.
Bob Sirott is working on an inspired gimme.
Sirott -- the bright good morning voice at WGN-AM (720) -- is in the midst of a campaign to get the Cubs to establish some sort of permanent tribute to the late, supremely revered Jack Rosenberg at Wrigley Field.
Rosenberg was the longtime WGN "sports editor." He stayed in the shadows with his Apple-templated mind to make even better broadcasters of such Chicago Rushmorers as Jack Brickhouse, Irv Kupcinet, Jack Quinlan, Lou Boudreau and Vince Lloyd.
"Rosie" died at age 94 last December after a truly wonderful life.
"A statue outside the ballpark with Jack at his mythic typewriter would be a dream outcome," said Sirott, the Albany Park-bred who attended his first Cubs game at age 9 in 1958.
(Dick Drott and the homies won.)
"But to keep the spirits aligned, that statue would rightfully have to be next to Jack Brickhouse's. And his statue remains in the plaza down by the old Tribune Tower.
"Even something like a flag at Wrigley or a prominently placed plaque or bust or even naming the press box after 'Rosey.' Anything that would perpetuate the man's astonishing place in the history of the team and Cubs broadcasting."
Astonishing it was. At the specific behest of Brickhouse, Rosenberg came to Chicago in 1954 from Peoria Newspapers Inc., an amalgam then in the process of combining its morning Star with the afternoon Journal-Transcript. His initial weekly salary at WGN was $85.
Brickhouse, in his own words, wanted, "a second, and sharper, brain and set of eyes and ears around the ballparks and in the (broadcast) booth."
For 28 marvelous season, Rosenberg was it. He became WGN's man for all seasons. The clacking of his typewriter during Brickhouse's punctuating sounds of silence became a critical part of the soundtrack of Cubs and White Sox TV.
In a perfect world, Rosenberg would be a candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award. But currently, the honor is reserved for on-air talent only.
Sirott has rescheduled a meeting with Crane Kenney, president of business ops for the Cubs, to try and move his initiative along.
He has massive in-house support, peopled by the likes of Bob Vorwald and Dave Eanet. Encyclopedic baseball power columnist Paul Sullivan is also on board.
"There are some things in life that are just so right, so appropriate, they should have been done long ago," said Sirott. "This is one of them."
Even a wheezing Sumo at Addison and Clark could only agree.
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• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at email@example.com.