Best Play-by-Play Man

Critics' Picks

Pat Hughes

WGN (720 AM)

The best sports play-by-play man in town, without doubt, is the Cubs’ Pat Hughes. Hughes has the precision to make up for the shortcomings of color man Ron Santo, who’s more an emotional barometer than a baseball analyst, but he also has the comic sense to play straight man for Santo’s ditsy Gracie Allen asides. And then there’s his delivery, as lilting as a songbird’s. His play-by-play sounds like summer to me—beaches and barbecues where the game’s on in the background.

A close second to Hughes is Pat Foley, the Blackhawks’ TV announcer who served out an exile with the Wolves at the end of the Bill Wirtz era and returned not just triumphant but better than ever. He and color analyst Eddie Olczyk, who moonlights with NBC’s network hockey coverage, might just be the best sports pairing in town. But strictly for play-by-play, the call is Hughes.