Cub Roe Skidmore Reflects On Illinois Roots

All Cubs fans of the early 1970s knew
these voices: Vince Lloyd (left) and
Lou Boudreau. The pair let listeners know
an Illinois native was in uniform!
(photo courtesy WGN Radio)

Roe Skidmore got special pleasure out of his roots.

For starters, he was no average Cubs prospect. He was an ILLINOIS NATIVE playing for an Illinois team.

This fact wasn’t lost on the media.

Skidmore noted:
“Jerome Holtzman and Rick Talley were newspaper writers at that time, and they did several articles on me being from Illinois. Jack Brickhouse, Lou Boudreau and Vince Lloyd also had me on the radio pre-game show several times.”

Despite his brief time as a Cub, Skidmore later felt the pride of being connected to a winning team. How?

“I currently scout for the Baltimore Orioles, but scouted for the Phillies for several years before coming to the Orioles. When with the Phillies, I was instrumental in signing Ryan Howard (from St. Louis area) and Jason Werth (Springfield, IL area).”

Skidmore played more than 1,200 games in the minors. He earned his seniority — and Topps card. Thanks, Roe!

Jack Brickhouse Sought Cub Rich Nye’s Wit

This 1989 Pacific set
gave Brickhouse his due!

The best baseball letters I receive redefine eras. The most memorable missives are more than punchlines, answering trivia questions such as “Toughest hitter? Hank Aaron.”

Pitcher Rich Nye, flashing superb storytelling skills, shared one much-needed reminder for me.
Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse was a real journalist.

By the 1970s, when I was watching the Cubs via WGN-TV syndicated broadcasts, Brickhouse seemed quite low-key for me. Later, compared to Harry Caray, my memory of Brickhouse turned into a cold bowl of oatmeal. The difference? Brickhouse loved the Cubs, too. However, he kept on being a reporter (instead of pure cheerleader).

Brickhouse started on radio in 1934. He started at WGN in 1940. Brickhouse did EVERYTHING — not just baseball. He is a Radio Hall of Famer. Likewise, he appreciated that Nye brought an unusual perspective to the game.

Nye wrote:

“In 1967, the Cubs had the typical mix of old and young. Along with myself there was Ken Holtzman, Joe Niekro, Bill Stoneman, Gary Ross, Alec Distaso, Frank Reberger and maybe a couple of others who were vying for a place on the team. We were led by crusty old Leo Durocher, who had little regard for a college-educated player.

We were, however, well accepted by the media and especially Jack Brickhouse took a shine to me and had me on his show several times. He wanted to talk about my days at Cal in the 1960s when the student body was in an uproar. He knew he would get an articulate interview.”

I learned about DOCTOR Nye’s second career in this fascinating 2008 Sun-Times blog post.

Tomorrow: Nye recalls batterymate Randy Hundley and the feeling of winning on national television.  

%d bloggers like this: