Sharing Airtime With Royals Hall of Fame Broadcaster Denny Matthews

Iowa Cubs broadcaster Randy Wehofer found life announcing for a Royals affiliate had one major perk:

Guest shots in the Kansas City broadcast booth!

More than once, Wehofer shared airtime with the Royals broadcast team. He wrote to share his experiences broadcasting from major league venues:

“Denny Matthews, and everyone with the Kansas City Royals, was extremely nice to me. Denny offered me some nice compliments both on and off the air. But for being in broadcasting, he is a man of few words off the air. He was gracious and welcoming and that’s all I could have hoped for. Ryan Lefebvre and Fred White have served more in a mentoring role for me over the years and I appreciate their help. Most of all, I have a lot of confidence knowing I’ve sat in the booth for a real major league game next to a Hall of Fame broadcaster and he told me that I did a good job.”

Wehofer broadcast from Wrigley Field in 2009, when his I-Cubs played a PCL game there.

“The trip to Wrigley was a great experience, especially for a guy who grew up in Chicago going to games there as a kid. I always thought Wrigley Field was the biggest place in the world growing up. But going back after all these years and visiting so many other parks, my biggest impression was to realize how “small” and quaint Wrigley is and why it earns the nickname “The Friendly Confines.”

Lastly, I wanted to ask a radio broadcaster: do you get tired of being a voice without a face? Don’t you want your own baseball card?

“I was part of a staff group picture that was on a card in our team set my first year in 1999 in Burlington. It’s fairly obscure. The most recognition I’ve received comes from being invited to be the emcee for the annual awards banquet at the winter meeting twice in the last four years. Over 2,000 people from both major and minor league baseball and national media members attend that event. I’ve also made a few presentations at the minor league baseball promotional seminar. Those events have given me the chance to meet a lot of people and let many in this business get to know me. I’ve really enjoyed those opportunities.”

I wish Randy Wehofer many more seasons of opportunities. He enjoys them all.

Cub Phil Cavarretta strikes out…


To celebrate the two-month anniversary of Baseball By The letters, I thought I’d log another first.

On April 15, I wrote to Phil Cavarretta, sending a letter with three questions:

1. What are you proudest of from your 1945 MVP season — and why?

2. What do you remember about family and friends getting to see you, a Chicago resident, play in Wrigley Field for the first time?

3. What was the hardest part about being a player-manager?

In the past, I find that a retiree might solo on one of three questions. The other two might get a “?” or slash-mark. That’s fine. Asking three times triples my chances.

My letter came back in the SASE. No autograph. No comments. Nothing.

Searching the signing history in the mail feature on the ever-so-valuable yielded a valuable clue. In 2004, another collector received his questionnaire returned blank.

(NOTE: I do not send a fill-in-the-blank worksheet filled with questions. I think using the term “questionnaire” in a fan letter is a red flag, making me scarier than a census worker.)

Nonetheless, I took solace in knowing that I wasn’t the first inquisitive fan to get shunned by P.C.

At most recent check from the superb autograph website, collectors are batting 88 percent with Mister C. There are 282 successful replies for signatures, the last one coming April 10. Even into his 90s, Cavarretta is still signing.

Will a fan ever get anything more than his name, or the “1945 MVP” notation he’ll add on request?

On March 29, 1954, then player-manager Cavarretta was asked by Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley what the team’s chances were that year. The skipper informed his boss, completely and honestly. The result? Someone was fired in spring training for his “defeatist attitude.”

Perhaps, Cavarretta has been dodging questions ever since.

What’s been the best “extra” you’ve received in a by-mail reply lately?

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