Pat Hughes Jul 22, 2023; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Pat Hughes speaks after he was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters during the hall of fame awards presentation at the Alice Busch Opera Theater. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes went into Cooperstown this weekend. The iconic voice of Cubs radio received the Ford C. Frick Award, given annually to the greatest broadcasters in baseball history.

Hughes joins a list of recognizable and illustrious names to earn the award. The first-ever winner was Mel Allen. Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, and Harry Caray have also won the award, as have Bob Uecker, Dave Niehaus, Tim McCarver, Dick Enberg, and others. Cub fans will tell you that he belongs in that group, and it’s fantastic to see him honored.

They would be correct.

A gracious Hughes took the podium at Cooperstown on Saturday and spoke on the honor. Pat didn’t omit Cub fans from his speech. Quite the opposite. He made sure to thank them for the way they have treated him over the years and the respect they’ve shown him. NBC Sports Chicago wrote that he said:

“What an extraordinary group of people you are. I want to thank you so much for your unbelievable passion for the club and your support of me,” he said. “When I got the call from Cooperstown last December, I truly think there were some Cub fans who were just as happy as I was with the news.

“You make me feel like I’m part of your family. You invite me to special events like graduations, bar mitzvahs and birthdays. And I absolutely love those games at Wrigley Field, those close ballgames where you fans are not just part of the ballpark atmosphere, but you become part of the ballgame itself, and you play a significant role in a dramatic Cubs victory,” he added.

Part of the charm that comes from working for a sports team for a long time is the familial sense that comes after. Baseball sticks out in this regard with its commentators. The names who have received the honors best describe this. Many of them – Harwell, Scully, Uecker, Buck, Niehaus – became the soundtracks for specific teams for dozens of years. Decades, even.

In that sense, Hughes represents a lot more to Cubs fans than just being the team’s voice. When the team won its first World Series in 2016 was so significant, Pat made a simple, excellent call. And it meant so much to the team and the Cubs that, eventually, Chicago released a bobblehead for the commentator.

If that doesn’t tell you how much impact he’s made with the Cubs, who knows what would?

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022