Jim O'Donnell: Inspired Bob Sirott pushing for permanent Jack Rosenberg memorial

  • The late Jack Rosenberg was a legendary WGN sports producer, and WGN-Radio's Bob Sirott would like him to be remembered with a permanent tribute at Wrigley Field.

    The late Jack Rosenberg was a legendary WGN sports producer, and WGN-Radio's Bob Sirott would like him to be remembered with a permanent tribute at Wrigley Field. Courtesy of WGN Radio

  • Bob Sirott is starting a campaign to get the Cubs ownership to recognize the late Jack Rosenberg at Wrigley Field.

    Bob Sirott is starting a campaign to get the Cubs ownership to recognize the late Jack Rosenberg at Wrigley Field. Daily Herald File Photo

 
Updated 6/16/2021 8:39 PM

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.

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"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.

STREET-BEATIN': Simon & Schuster is already banging the gongs over the November release of Scottie Pippen's "tell all" autobiography "Unguarded." Ol' No. 33's long-standing chums can only hope his spontaneous implode chip has been put on tungsten-mesh disconnect for the project. ...

Select media outrage over ESPN's Matt Vasgersian using the neologism "Bartmanland" during the Cubs-Cards telecast Sunday night seems a bit pontifical. For better or verse, Steve Bartman's 2003 souvenir grab is right there among Forever Chicago artifacts with Mrs. O'Leary's cow and Lori Lightfoot's noninclusive 2021 midterm media interviews. ...

SiriusXM is a strong alternative for audio coverage of the U.S. Open beginning Thursday. (Ace analyst Dennis Paulson calls Torrey Pines home; Gary McCord will also be heard.) ...

Jimmy Kimmel gave a free national plugola to Lou Malnati's Pizza late night Monday that should keep him in dry-ice deliveries until the Blackhawks are relevant again. (Basketball brain Rick Malnati can still accurately claim he got to guard both Larry Bird and Mark Aguirre while playing for Dick Versace's Bradley Braves.) ...

Naperville-born "Jeopardy!" James Holzhauer is set to begin a weekly sports gaming theory column for The Athletic. That's sure to raise pulses at the Prospect Heights OTB, where gaming theory after 3 p.m. generally extends to, "How much voucher do I have left?" ...

From the casino cash grab bag, WSCR-AM (670) has added to its C-list talent roster with baseball footnote Cody Decker. (The fellow's meandering Wikipedia entry is longer than his eight-game MLB career.) ...

While telling media he is likely to retire no later than 2023, Charles Barkley also delivered some nice beach slaps to Skip Bayless. (Question, though: Other than his personal finance guy, does anyone know Bayless still works in sports media?) ...

And heat-seeking Jay Mariotti, always of good cheer -- on the state of the national pastime: "Need I remind those in charge that MLB is a cheating-infested, action-less, labor-doomed debacle that should be paying the fans to watch?"

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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