Chicago Cubs fans who thought the team’s decision to let outfielder Kyle Schwarber leave to free agency earlier this week was going to be the toughest pill to swallow this week were wrong, as fans will now also be bidding farewell to the voice behind their telecasts for the better part of two decades.
The Athletic reported early Friday morning that Len Kasper, the Cubs’ TV play-by-play broadcaster, is leaving the role he held with the team for the past 16 years. But Kasper won’t be traveling far for his next destination, as his new home booth will be serving as the play-by-play radio voice for the Chicago White Sox.
Kasper will join radio color commentator Darrin Jackson as the radio team for the White Sox on ESPN 1000. The Sox left the station in 2015 and return this season after multiple different stations, most recently WGN 720 for the past three seasons.
In 2005, Kasper was hired by the Cubs to replace Chip Caray, the grandson of late legend and hall-of-famer Harry Caray, who left to broadcast on TBS for the Atlanta Braves. Chip’s color partner, Steve Stone, left that same season and is currently the TV color commentator for the Chicago White Sox.
Kasper had worked for the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Florida Marlins before his time with the Cubs, making a transition from radio and TV to solely TV during his time with the Brewers in the late 1990s.
In an appearance on ESPN 1000’s Kap and J. Hood show Friday, Kasper said that his passion has always been in radio since he first heard hall-of-fame broadcaster Ernie Hallwell call Detroit Tigers games as a kid.
“Twelve-year-old Len Kasper is as thrilled as can be,” Kasper said. “Anyone who has known me for more than a day in this business understands how I was drawn to the game of baseball.
“I wanted to be Ernie Harwell … and my baseball broadcasting career took a different turn.”
Kasper joins Stone and other prestigious broadcasters to shift between duties with both Chicago teams. Harry Caray was the voice behind the White Sox from 1971-1981 before spending the final 17 years of his career with the Cubs. Stone has both pitched and broadcasted for both teams.
Bob Elson called games for both the Cubs and White Sox, as well as the NFL’s Chicago Bears and NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks during his 40-plus year career that ended in 1970. Jack Brickhouse, another hall-of-fame broadcaster, spent roughly half of his career broadcasting both baseball teams, like Elson, during his own 40-plus year run.
Kasper is the permanent replacement for the late Ed Farmer, who served as color commentator on the radio for the White Sox from 1992-1995 before moving to the play-by-play role through last season. Farmer died of liver cancer in April and was temporarily replaced in 2020 by Andy Masur.