WRIGLEYVILE — Before there was the "Holy Cow!" of Harry Caray, there was Jack Brickhouse calling out "Hey-Hey!"
The Chicago broadcast legend died in 1998, but his legacy lived on in 62 boxes of memorabilia, signed photos and awards. He even saved handfuls of old score cards from some of the most famous (or infamous) Cubs games of the century.
"Jack never threw anything out. I had drawers and drawers of it," said his wife, Pat Brickhouse. "I couldn't keep it all, but it was too precious and too priceless just to throw away."
Pat Brickhouse moved to Arizona a few months ago, and those 62 boxes "were staring me in the face," she said. Knowing her husband would want to share his lifetime collection with people who would treasure it, she decided to put most of it up for auction.
[Coy-Krupp Conducted Sales]
On Saturday, hundreds of the Brickhouses' possessions will be sold during an auction at 1444 Old Skokie Road in Highland Park. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., fans of broadcast and sports can bid on everything from Jack Brickhouse's well worn, monogrammed briefcase to letters from five U.S. presidents.
The first face shown on WGN-TV in 1948, Jack Brickhouse spent over 40 years as a Chicago broadcaster, both on radio and television. He was the announcer for the Chicago Cubs from 1948 to 1981, when Caray replaced him, and also called games for the White Sox, Bears and Bulls during various stints in his career.
Brickhouse grew up in Peoria, Illinois, where his mother worked in a hotel after his father died when Brickhouse was two years old.
He got his start in radio in the 1930s at 18 years old — the youngest broadcaster in the nation. After an internship in New York that his wife said was "the worst year of his life," Brickhouse came to Chicago "and never wanted to leave."
"No. 1, they have the greatest sports fans in the nation, and No. 2, he just felt they were the most wonderful, friendly people on earth," Pat Brickhouse told DNAinfo Chicago.
The collection of items tells the fascinating story of Jack Brickhouse's life: his solid gold wristwatch engraved "In recognition of 40 years of service" with WGN, Emmy awards, a clock he received after telecasting the 1950 World Series and an old pair of much-used binoculars.
A gold watch honoring Jack Brickhouse's 40 years with WGN, his binoculars, Cubs memorabilia, his Rolodex and a 1950 World Series program are among hundreds of his items that will be up for auction on Saturday.[Coy-Krupp Conducted Sales]
While Brickhouse spent 24 consecutive seasons announcing for the Bears and was the first voice of the Chicago Bulls, his primary love was baseball, his wife said.
For Brickhouse, the "highest honor" was receiving the 1983 Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame, his wife said.
Through it all, though, Brickhouse remained humble.
"He never refused an autograph. He was friendly to everyone, and he was very low-key. That's one of the reasons fans still remember him," she said.
"He never did it for the money. He did it for the love of the game."
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