Les Grobstein, Chicago sports broadcaster, dies at 69

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago sports broadcaster Les Grobstein died at age 69, sports station 670 The Score announced Monday.

Grobstein's career covering Chicago sports spanned 50 years, most recently serving as a weeknight overnight host on 670 The Score, where "The Grobber" developed a loyal following.

He was found dead at his home in Elk Grove Village Sunday.

"We are devastated by the loss of a Chicago sports legend," said Mitch Rosen, operations director and brand manager for 670 The Score. "Our audience who Les kept company overnight for years will miss him the most along with our team at The Score. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all of his fans."

"He had the exuberance of a 14-year-old sports fan," said Mark Grote, 670 The Score. "He was a professional, talented sportscaster who had this exuberance he never lost."

Many long time Chicagoans remember Grobstein from his early days on WLS radio with Larry Lujack and Tommy Edwards. Grobstein managed the station's charity softball team, which raised money for schools.

"My texts and emails are going crazy today," said Tommy Edwards, Grobstein's former radio partner. "Everyone is remembering what a lovable and unique character he was."

Grobstein was a fixture in press boxes for every professional sports team in Chicago. It seemed he never slept, hosting overnights on The Score in between covering games. Colleagues remember his encyclopedic memory, pulling out obscure sports events from decades earlier and recalling that he was there to witness them.

"The beauty of Les was his passion for sports. Passion for people. Passion for knowledge," said Bruce Levine, 670 The Score.

"I truly felt he would do the job for no pay," retired sportswriter Fred Mitchell said. "That's how passionate he was."

Grobstein is still known for making the only recording of an infamous obscenity-laced tirade by former Cubs manager Lee Elia in 1983 in which he tore apart Cubs fans who failed to support the team.

Many in the Chicago sports world are recalling Grobstein, including Northwestern Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald who tweeted, "Les Grobstein was one of the few absolute constants in my life is a Chicago sports fan. His recall and passion for the games, players and coaches were unmatched."

Grobstein had been off work sick since last Wednesday but friends were unaware of any serious illness. He died Sunday, leaving behind his longtime girlfriend and son.

The Chicago Bears released a statement saying, "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and 670 The Score radio host Les Grobstein. Les was a true media icon of the last 50+ years, whose knowledge of Chicago sports history was unparalleled. Les was proud of having attended more than 100 Bears-Packers games in his time, his first coming in 1963 and he could recall it like it was yesterday. He was always a pleasure to chat with on game days, and anyone who had a conversation with Les walked away knowing more. On behalf of the entire Bears organization, we extend our thoughts and prayers to his family, especially his beloved Kathy and son Scott, friends and countless faithful listeners."
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