Jul 20, 2022 - Sports

Best play-by-play teams

Two guys in a Blackhawks parade

Eddie Olczyk during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2019. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Blackhawks fans are reeling now that color commentator Eddie Olczyk is leaving for Seattle just months after legendary broadcaster Pat Foley retired.

Why it matters: Chicago, some say, has the best local sports broadcasters in the country.

  • So as the Blackhawks search for a new broadcast team, now is a good time to assess the best television booths in town.

1. Jason Benetti & Steve Stone

two dudes
Jason Benetti and Steve Stone in 2019. Photo: Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

This team is the gold standard. The White Sox paired them together when Hawk Harrelson went part-time. Their wit, chemistry and knowledge of the game always makes for a fun watch.

  • Benetti, who is regularly borrowed by ESPN for national games, has become one of the best play-by-play broadcasters in all of sports.
  • Stone just celebrated 40 years in Chicago booths, for both the Cubs and the White Sox.

2. Adam Amin & Stacey King

two sportscasters
Stacey King and Adam Amin in 2022. Photo: Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Is there a better color commentator in basketball than Stacey King?

  • He pulls no punches when the Bulls are underperforming and uses his prep time to come up with catchphrases like "mouse in the house" and "gimme the hot sauce."
  • And after the retirement of Neil Funk, Amin quickly became the new voice for the Bulls.

3. Jeff Joniak & Tom Thayer

football players
Tom Thayer, now a broadcaster for Bears radio, leads the way for the Fridge in Super Bowl XX. Also, look at the block from Walter Payton! Photo: John Iacono/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

Because they're on the radio, every Bears fan knows that you turn the TV down and turn these guys up. They are far better than the B-squad broadcasters from the national networks.

  • Joniak's efficiency in describing pre-snap formations and Thayer's knowledge from playing the game make their broadcasts both entertaining and informative.
  • And like King, Thayer doesn't mince words when someone misses a block.

4. Jon "Boog" Sciambi & Jim Deshaies

two sportscasters
Jim Deshaies with former partner Len Kasper in 2020. Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Cubs broadcast booth is hallowed ground. Harry Caray and Steve Stone set the bar high and then Len Kasper and Deshaies called a World Series season.

  • Boog came over from ESPN to take over for Kasper after he bolted for Sox radio.
  • Honorable mention: Pat Hughes' radio calls. The best.

📫 These are the current booths. But who do you think are the best to ever do it in Chicago? Reply and let us know.


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