Pat Hughes elected to HOF, earns Ford C. Frick Award


Pat Hughes has been behind the mic for countless big moments in Cubs history, articulating the scenes for generations of fans as the team’s radio play-by-play voice.

But when Hughes received a phone call Wednesday from Josh Rawitch — president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame — he was left a bit speechless.

“I could feel kind of a strange sensation in my head,” Hughes said. “Like, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm actually the guy. I'm gonna be a Hall of Famer.’

“I didn't really hear anything he had to say after, ‘Congratulations, you're going into the Hall of Fame.’”

Hughes will be inducted into the Hall next July after he was named the winner of the 2023 Ford. C. Frick Award. He’ll join Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray as the only Cubs broadcasters to receive the award.

Hughes will be honored in Cooperstown during Hall of Fame weekend, set for July 21-24, 2023.

“When you think about the great players who have all been inducted into Cooperstown," Hughes said after the announcement, "right on that site, you start thinking about the history of the place.

"It's very special just to be there and to think and to look at all the plaques of the announcers, the players, the managers, the coaches. It's a great place to be.

"Now to think that my own plaque is going to be there, it's ridiculous. I can't even believe it.”

Hughes, who was inducted into the Cubs’ Hall of Fame this past summer, was previously a finalist for the Frick Award in 2016 and 2020.

A nine-time Illinois Sportscaster of the Year, he behind the mic in 2016 when the Cubs captured their first pennant since 1945 and first World Series title since 1908.

Hughes’ professional broadcasting career began with the San Jose Missions in 1978, and his first MLB job came with the Twins in 1983. 

After working on Brewers radio alongside Bob Uecker from 1984-95, he joined the Cubs’ radio booth in 1996, pairing with Ron Santo, the late, beloved Hall of Famer and broadcaster.

“I realized early on when you're a big-league announcer, it's a big responsibility,” Hughes said. “Especially in a market like Chicago with the incredible fan base that the Cubs have. 

“I don't take any game lightly.”

Hughes grew up in the Bay Area listening to Giants, A’s, Raiders and Warriors games, teams that boasted broadcasters including Russ Hodges, Lon Simmons and Bill King.

He would listen to legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully at night, and later Marty Brennaman when he lived in Ohio. 

They were each “a great positive influence” on Hughes as he was developing his own style, he said.

Hughes quipped: “What's the old saying? If you copy from one person, it's called plagiarism. But if you copy from many people, it's called research.”

Hughes expressed his gratitude for radio partners Ron Coomer and Zach Zaidman and engineer Paul Zerang. His late parents and brother and Santo were front of mind after Wednesday's news.

“Ronnie was a great partner,” Hughes said. “We had a wonderful partnership. It was very unique.”

Hughes said the last time he visited the Hall was 2012, when Santo was posthumously inducted.

Soon, he'll join Santo and so many other baseball icons in Cooperstown.

“I'm very proud. I work very hard, but so do a lot of people," Hughes said. "This is a very special honor, and it's almost intimidating for me to be looking at the other members of the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame broadcasters, and to think now that I'm a part of it. 

“We're talking about the greatest baseball announcers in the history of the game. To think that I'm in any part of that mix is something that's very satisfying and gratifying and thrilling.

“It hasn't sunk in yet. But I'm very happy to be here.”

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