Dan Roan there for ups, downs of Chicago sports
By Dick Goss email@example.com January 31, 2013 9:48PM
WGN-TV's Dan Roan signs autographs at the Old Timers Baseball Association of Will County banquet. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2013 12:03PM
Dan Roan considers himself a lucky man.
He came to Chicago to work for WGN-TV Sports in 1984, the same year the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan.
That summer, the Cubs — he’s a lifelong Cubs fan — made the playoffs with “a great clubhouse.”
The Bears won the Super Bowl, the Bulls captured six NBA championships and the Cubs had other years when they threatened to reach the World Series.
Then came the probable topper, covering the White Sox when they won the World Series in 2005.
Roan, the sports anchor on WGN News at Nine and host of “Instant Replay,” the weekend sports wrapup that airs at 9:40 p.m. Sundays, was at the Joliet Holiday Inn on Thursday night to serve as the guest speaker for the 64th annual Old Timers Baseball Association of Will County banquet. He took a few minutes before the event to condense his nearly three decades of highlights in Chicago.
“I’ll never forget Jerry (Reinsdorf, White Sox chairman) standing in the middle of the diamond at Houston hugging the trophy after the Sox won the championship,” Roan said. “I’ve never felt better for anyone. That was special.
“Jerry won with the Bulls, of course, but baseball was always his first love.”
Frank Thomas should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer next year, in Roan’s opinion.
“For the reasons he outlined last weekend (at SoxFest),” Roan said. “He did it the right way. A couple of others should be right there with him. Greg Maddux, I don’t see how he can’t get in.”
Thomas had the reputation of being moody, and Roan said that probably was accurate.
“For most of his career, his glass was half-empty,” he said. “He had a little bit of a persecution complex. It was funny because he always seemed to have a smile on his face.”
Roan is a scratch golfer, and Jordan is proud of his game. Who’s better? “We’re pretty close,” Roan said. “But no doubt he thinks he’s better.”
Roan mentioned Leon Durham, Rick Sutcliffe, Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier as 1984 Cubs who helped make that great clubhouse.
“What a tremendous group of guys,” he said. “Here I was a lifelong Cubs fan, in my first year here, I’m working at WGN of all places, and to top it off, they win.”
On the flip side, there was the Sox clubhouse during the 1990s.
“They had some of the worst guys in there during those years,” Roan said. “Albert Belle, of course, was the leader of the pack, and Billy Koch was another one. You didn’t want to go anywhere near that clubhouse.
“Now, since a couple of years before they won it until the present, it’s a great clubhouse. Maybe some of the guys this year won’t miss A.J. (Pierzynski), but I think most of them will.”
Roan said while things look bleak for the 2013 Cubs, the Sox “could be OK. But they have to replace A.J.’s homers and the chips have to fall right with the pitching staff.”
As a newsman, Roan said he sees traits in Pierzynski that also apply to former Sox Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk.
“A.J. is candid, honest,” he said. “This summer I sat down with Pudge (Fisk) on Thursday at Cooperstown, talked to him about Ron Santo getting in and other things. He was so thoughtful in his answers, which he always was. I’m a big fan of his.”