Like Santo, new Cubs announcer wants World Series
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Writer
Former Cub Keith Moreland was named Ron Santo's successor in the Cubs radio broadcast booth.
Keith Moreland knows he will not ``replace’’ Ron Santo in his new role as the Cubs radio analyst. But the former Cubs outfielder, named Wednesday to succeed the late legendary third baseman, shares a kindred emotion with his predecessor.
``Some day in my lifetime, we’ll win a World Series, and I want to be there,’’ the Texas native said of seeking the job. ``No one can replace Ron Santo. All I can do is be myself. I can butcher the English language as well as anyone, but I understand the game. I think I’ll probably be a little more analytical, but I also like to laugh. I’ll have a hall of fame-type broadcaster in Pat Hughes to work with, and that makes things a lot easier.’’
Moreland, 56, who played six of his 12 major league seasons with the Cubs from 1982 to 1987, was given a three-year contract. His first broadcast will be Feb. 27 in the first spring training radio broadcast.
``I feel like Chicago is as much home as Texas,’’ Moreland said. ``My son [Cole, 24] was born in Chicago and we lived in the suburbs there for eight years. This was a pretty easy decision for me.’’
Hughes, who worked beside Santo for 15 seasons, lauded Moreland, saying he was ``a lot of fun’’ in the eight games they worked together. ``He’s knowledgeable, does his homework and he like to laugh. It’s all good.
``He’s going to have a deeper knowledge [of the game] than I have, and I’m going to tap into that. I think the chemistry is something that needs to be nurtured and developed. That’s one of my goals.’’
Manager Mike Quade congratulated Moreland: ``I enjoyed spending time with him briefly this year when he was around. I enjoyed watching him when I was a kid. Maybe I wasn’t that young as a kid.
Quade feels Moreland and Hughes will make a great team.
``I think so much of Pat,” he said, “and not just as far as Keith goes and what he’s going to bring to the booth, but to be able to work with that guy, that’s really something. So I’m sure it’ll be a real good team.’’
Quade will be interviewed daily by Moreland for the manager’s pre-game show. Asked if that might be different, Quade said: ``That’s possible. Let’s wait and see. I would imagine so, yes. I doubt I’ll have quite as many stories. Keith’s done Texas stuff ... I know deep down when he comes to Chicago he’s a Cub guy, but get rid of that Texas hat and watch him do the Cubs stuff.’’
Moreland and former Cubs pitcher Dave Otto were the finalists for a position that drew a number of applicants, WGN-AM sports director Dave Eanet said. Moreland and Otto had substituted for Santo, but Moreland also has spent 16 years broadcasting University of Texas baseball, and nine years doing Texas football. He drew accolades in many quarters for his work filling in for Santo.
``The color analyst needs to not only be an outstanding broadcaster, but also have chemistry with play-by-play man Pat Hughes, have respect of the players and coaching staff, be an ambassador for WGN Radio, the Cubs and advertising partners, be involved in the community, and most importantly – embrace Cubs fans,” said Tom Langmyer, WGN Radio’s Vice President/General Manager. ``Keith Moreland is absolutely the right person for this position and we’re excited to welcome him back to Chicago.’’
The Cubs also signed off on Moreland’s selection, with team president Crane Kenney calling him a ``popular player for six seasons with the Cubs [who has] maintained close ties with us since his retirement as a player with guest spots in our broadcast booths and appearances at our conventions. Keith will display the same passion, instincts and knowledge for the game during our WGN radio broadcasts as he did on the field.’’
Moreland and his wife Cindy plan to relocate to Chicago. In addition to their son, they have an adult daughter, Courtney, 33.
``I know they [Hughes and Santo] had a great chemistry,’’ Moreland said. ``All I can do is be me and strive to connect and build a relationship with Cubs fans everywhere.’’
Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer.