Who'll Succeed Ron Santo? Signs Point To Keith Moreland As New Cubs Radio Voice

No one can replace Ron Santo as Pat Hughes' WGN broadcast partner. But who is likely to succeed him?

Our good friend Bruce Levine had everyone but Charlie Grimm listed as a candidate to succeed the late Ron Santo as Pat Hughes' Cubs radio color partner in his latest post for the Chicago bureau of the World Wide Leader.

Since Grimm hasn't been available since 1983 and isn't going to trade jobs with Mike Quade, let's first provide an overview of the field and break down the candidates.

If this were Bob Brenly's job open and not the radio analyst's, there'd be an Oklahoma-style land rush of applications. Rick Sutcliffe would change his philosophy and put a pitch in. Mark Grace might try to return from his desert existence. Other national guys would flood the e-mails and phone lines at Wrigley Field, WGN and CSN Chicago.

Radio, while still attractive, has a somewhat narrower field of applicants. Here's a handicap of Bruce's list:

● Sutcliffe. Big Red would be the favorite if he wanted a 162-game schedule. But he's happy with the flexibility an ESPN schedule gives him. He only has to commit to broadcasting a few days each week during the season. And he'd have a lower profile on radio than on ESPN's flagship channel.

●  Rick Monday. He's like Prince Charles waiting into his 60s to succeed Queen Elizabeth II. Monday is already 65 and technically a co-equal with Vin Scully, soon to be 83, on Dodgers broadcasts. Thus, he has only a limited number of productive seasons to ascend the LA baseball throne after Scully finally retires.  He's a Los Angeles native anyway. He wouldn't be likely to move 2,000 miles away and accept a demotion to color guy on radio.

● Dave Otto. All right as a substitute, but the Cubs have been there, done that, with Otto. He alternated with Joe Carter as Chip Caray's partner in 2001-02. If the reviews were rave, he'd have been worked into the broadcasts long ago. He wasn't.

● Randy Hundley. I thought he had potential as a fill-in about 13 years ago. But now the Rebel is nearly 69. I don't think he'd take the 162-game grind.

● Gary Matthews. Although the Sarge lives in Chicago, he's got a sweet deal with the soon-to-be-crowned 2011 World Series champs (isn't that right with Cliff Lee's arrival?) in Philadelphia. Radio here would be a demotion.

●  Judd Sirott. Fine as an occasional backup to Hughes, but not a color announcer. You need a former player with gravitas and Cubs connections or a big-time radio voice.

Which leads us to Bobby Keith Moreland. I liked his work as a fill-in the past two years on both radio and TV. He has all the prerequisites: a Cubs connection as a 1984 hero, passion, knowledgeability and a Texas drawl that can play well off Hughes' dulcet, cultured tones. He's not a big TV name so moving up from Longhorns football and baseball broadcasts would be a desired promotion. If Moreland is not in the final three for the job, it's an upset.

Just sayin'...

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