On a February night in 2002, I stood outside Vince Lloyd’s Green Valley, Ariz. retirement home with the host. We both looked to the countless stars in the desert sky.
The previous year, Lloyd’s old WGN comrades-in-arms-Lou Boudreau and Arne Harris had died. Back in 1998, Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray passed away. Talking about Brickhouse, Vince said he had a telling feeling that Jack had died earlier that day, before he heard the news. That’s how connected the WGN boys were through what Brickhouse called “80-hour work weeks” and rotating poker games at the sports staff’s homes.
“They were my friends,” Lloyd said, looking up.
Nothing is forever except friendship and great memories. A year and a half later, the man born Vince Lloyd Skaff in South Dakota in 1917 also was consigned to fond remembrance, his stout heart, trademark baritone voice and old Marine Corps toughness unable to outlast cancer at 86. I cherished Vince’s good fellowship and support of my career in his later life, after he had served as a youthful soundtrack of summers as he did for several million Midwest listeners as a verbally animated Cubs radio voice.
I committed to the concept to garner honors and recognition for Vince, probably underrated during his prime since Brickhouse had the highest regional profile as Cubs TV play-by-play with the most games on video in the majors. But the Ford Frick Award, baseball’s highest honor for an announcer, seemed beyond Lloyd’s reach posthumously. Soon after his July 2003 death, I added Vince Lloyd at the last moment to my “Where Have All Our Cubs Gone?” book, published in 2005, as a means to remember him.
STORYCategory Chicago Baseball History Feature, Chicago Baseball History News Tags Al Kern, American Federated Television and Radio Artists, Arne Harris, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Tribune, Chicago White Sox, Diamond Gems, Ernie Banks, Harry Caray, Jack Brickhouse, Jack Rosenberg, John Owens, Leo Durocher, Lou Boudreau, National Television Academy of the Arts and Sciences, Red Mottlow, Ron Santo, Sharon Pannozzo, Silver Circle, Vince Lloyd, WGN