Pat Hughes said he was hoping one day his name would join the illustrious group of former players, coaches, executives, broadcasters and key figures in the Cubs Hall of Fame.
“You always hope for things like that,” Hughes said. “But some things are almost so lofty that you don't really dwell on it because you don't want to be disappointed. So, I did not sit around thinking about it a lot.”
And as a result, Hughes — the beloved longtime Cubs radio play-by-play man — says he was left "speechless" Wednesday night.
Hughes was named to the 2022 Cubs Hall of Fame class during Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals — when Crane Kenney, the team’s president of business operations, dropped by the radio booth to surprise him.
Buck O’Neil, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame last month, and former Cubs outfielder José Cardenal join him in the 2022 class.
“I’m amazed. I really am,” said Hughes, who’s been the voice of Cubs radio since 1996. “I don't know what to say. I told [radio partner Ron] Coomer, I said, ‘As you can attest, rarely am I speechless,’ but I really was. It came right out of the blue.”
Kenney actually had a plan to surprise Hughes during Wednesday’s game. He told Hughes he was going to drop by the radio booth to talk about the Hall of Fame class.
He handed Hughes a press release with all the information about him.
“I was just kind of stunned,” Hughes said.
Hughes, a nine-time recipient of Illinois Sportscaster of the Year, will become only the third play-by-play man in the Cubs Hall of Fame, which was installed last year with an inaugural 56-person class. Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray, of course, are the others.
“To think that I'm the third is very special to me,” Hughes said. “Very special.”
Hughes recalled days when the Cubs would be on national television, giving Caray a day off. But he loved radio and would join Hughes and Ron Santo in the Cubs’ booth.
“And I would say coming back from a commercial, ‘Along with Hall of Famer Harry Caray and Ron Santo, it's Pat Hughes at Wrigley,” Hughes said. “And sometimes I would have to stop, thinking, ‘How did I get here?’
“And I had that same feeling a few minutes ago. How did I get here? I can't explain it. It's just kind of — it's almost surreal.”
Hughes grew up in Northern California idolizing Giants broadcasters Lon Simmons and Russell Hodges, as well as Bill King, who called Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders and Oakland A's games.
As he grew up and started thinking about a broadcasting career, he would listen to Vin Scully and Bob Costas.
Now, there are young kids out there listening and idolizing him.
“I'm amazed. I'm very pleased,” Hughes said.
The Cubs will unveil Hughes, O’Neil and Cardenal’s Hall of Fame plaques in Wrigley Field’s left field concourse Sept. 10.