Bob Sirott

Ask most Chicagoans what they know of Bob Sirott and they are likely to mention his current assignment as anchor of NBC News at 4:30 p.m. with Marion Brooks, or they might mention his years developing WTTW’s -Chicago Tonight into a one hour newsmagazine, or they might talk about his years as a radio and television journalist with other stations. But mention him to players and fans of 16″ softball and they are likely to praise the twenty-five years he has spent promoting and supporting softball on television and radio. He started playing softball in pickup games at Eugene Park in the ’60s. In the ’70s he started the WLS radio ‘89ers softball team, playing various area teams and in charity games. During the ’70s he also was a charter member of the “Radio and Records” softball team. Members of the radio community (off and on air personnel) and record and concert promoters in Chicago would get together on Saturdays at Lincoln Park for pick-up games. One station manager who had just fired one of his disc jockeys ended up on the same team with the fired disc jockey that day. All went well for them that day and at least for one day a week the playing of softball smoothed over radio and record rivalries. Besides playing on teams connected to his radio career, he also started playing in an Evanston league with teams organized by Rich Melman. The “over-30s” leagues of those days have evolved throughout the years into the “anyone who can stand league” that he still plays in today. During the ’90s he organized the Fox Things softball team and played around the city and suburbs with the staff of Fox Thing in the Morning, a television show he hosted for seven years with Marianne Murciano (his wife). He also played in the media league at Grant Park and in various celebrity games with a team from Fox. One of the most memorable celebrity games happened at Thillens Stadium in a game pitting media all-stars against former Cubs and Sox players with Michael Jordan playing with the Cubs/Sox team. Michael Jordan hit a double and was going to stretch it into a triple with Bob Sirott playing third. As the throw came into third, all Sirott could think of was somehow injuring Jordan to the point that his career would be ended and he would forever be remembered as the person who dashed the hopes of Chicago. Needless to say, the dreaded collision didn’t happen, Jordan slid safely into third and the fate of the Bulls’ championships was assured. As anchor of Chicago Tonight, Bob Sirott promoted softball with stories about the people, places and history of softball. Afew years ago, after interviewing former President Jimmy Carter, Bob showed him a clincher. The former president was so enamored of the ball that he took it back to Plains, Georgia, making him probably the only president who has a souvenir of “Chicago’s game.” He and Marianne Murciano currently host the Saturday Radio Special on WCKG from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. He has interviewed Hall of Fame coach/organizer Bob Campbell about his tips for softball players. These days, during the transition into the weather segment, it’s not unusual for the anchor to ask the meteorologist if it will be a good day for golf on Sunday. Sirott, however, asks if he will be able to get his softball game in. He figures he’s still too young to be playing golf.