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Les Grobstein, Legendary Chicago Sports Broadcaster, Dies at 69

TheWrap logo TheWrap 1/17/2022 Tony Maglio
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Les Grobstein, a legendary figure among the Chicago sports broadcasting community, has died. He was 69.

Grobstein, known to his 670 The Score (WSCR 670-AM) radio listeners as “The Grobber,” died “suddenly” in his home on Sunday, according to his home station. He had been doing overnights there since 2009.

Grobstein had been out sick since Wednesday, his station’s operations director, Mitch Rosen, told Chicago media reporter Robert Feder. No further details were available.

“Grobstein’s deep well of sports knowledge, experience and passion earned him the loyalty and love of listeners throughout Chicago,” the radio station’s obit reads.

Born in 1952, Grobstein was a Chicago native who put more than 50 years into the sports-broadcasting profession.

Grobstein graduated from Columbia College and began his sportscasting career as a Northwestern Basketball commentator in 1970. From there, Grobstein worked as an announcer for several teams and as a reporter for Sportsphone Chicago. He had tenures as the sports director at WLS 890-AM and as a reporter for WMVP-1000 before reaching 670 The Score.

Grobstein is survived by his long-time partner, Kathy, and his son, Scott.

“It’s been quite a run for Chicago’s human sports almanac, who has been almost a Zelig in Chicago sports over the last half-century,” The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg wrote in a 50th anniversary tribute to Grobstein’s career in 2020.

“From starting as a Northwestern radio man to taping the most famous rant in baseball history to defending Jim McMahon’s honor during Super Bowl week, Grobstein is part of Chicago sports lore. The Grobber, as he’s known, likes to say, ‘I was there’ and he almost always was.”

That “most famous rant” was by Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia in 1983. Readers can hear the audio via the YouTube post at the bottom of this page. Probably don’t play it too loudly at work.

There is a GoFundMe set up to help pay Grobstein’s funeral expenses. Readers can find that (and donate if they so choose) here. The goal is set to $15,000.

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