The Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series title was their first since 1908, ending the longest title drought in North American professional sports history. So it’s not surprising that it stood out for one of the people who called it. But it is interesting to hear long-time Cubs’ TV voice Pat Hughes speak about what that call was like for him.
Hughes, who is being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Saturday as the 2023 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, did just that on the latest episode of Audacy’s The PBP: Voices of Baseball with Matt Spiegel. The whole conversation here is interesting, but about two thirds of the way in, Spiegel asks Hughes (who has been calling MLB games for more than four decades with the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, and Cubs, and has been the radio voice of the Cubs since 1996) for something that made him smile in the booth. And Hughes responds with a discussion of that World Series call.
“The first thing would be the final out of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. That’s a moment that has been unmatched. I was frightened. I was exhilarated. But unless you’ve been in a situation like that where you know the Cubs are going to be in the World Series.”
“They had a great year. They win the pennant – that was a special moment… Then getting into the World Series. And then being in Game 7 and the ups and downs of that tremendous final game. And then it’s like a four-hour ballgame and it’s the 10th inning and finally I get a chance to say…”
Spiegel then inserts the audio of Hughes’ call of that moment on 670 The Score, which can be heard below:
“A little bouncer, slowly, towards Bryant. He will glove it and throw to Rizzo! It’s in time! And the Chicago Cubs win the World Series! The Cubs come pouring out of the dugout, jumping up and down like a bunch of delirious 10-year-olds! The Cubs have done it! The longest drought in the history of American sports is over, and the celebration begins!”
Hughes then had some further comments on this to Spiegel, saying it isn’t the call he’s the most proud of, but it was a memorable moment for him.
“It’s a moment I will never forget. By any means, it’s not the greatest baseball call that’s ever been made… It was the biggest moment of my career. It was exciting, but I’m not sure I want to do that every single day.”
That makes sense. There’s certainly a lot of pressure that comes with those particular moments. And they maybe stand out, especially amidst a four-decade-plus career, because of how unusual they are. It’s interesting to hear Hughes’ thoughts on this one, especially ahead of his BBHOF induction.