Paul Sullivan: No one knew the Chicago Cubs quite like Lin Brehmer, a voice of sanity during good times and bad

Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

A longtime Chicago Cubs fan, Lin Brehmer was honored to be asked to moderate a panel discussion at the 2015 Cubs Convention.

It was Joe Maddon’s official introduction to Cubs fans, and Brehmer wanted the new skipper to know exactly what he was in for in Chicago.

“Joe, a lot of high-priced managers have come through the Cubs organization over the years,” Brehmer said. “Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella and many others have come in, and most left Chicago in straitjackets…”

Maddon interrupted before Brehmer could pose his question.

“Forty-two regular,” he said, offering up his jacket size.

Brehmer, the veteran disc jockey for WXRT-FM 93.1 who died Sunday at 68, loved telling that story. He was the quintessential Cubs fan, the kind who followed them as closely when they were hopeless failures as when they became World Series champions. He could cheer them on one minute and throw up his hands in disgust the next.


And though his career path led him to our city and our favorite progressive rock station, we were fortunate his bosses at WXRT had the good sense to let Lin opine on air about whatever crossed his mind, including his thoughts on his beloved Cubs.

Lin’s essay on “Saturday Morning Flashback” on the 1998 Cubs perfectly captured the essence of the wild season of Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood and the “Oh, no!” moment in Milwaukee. The joy, the pain, the resurrection and the heartbreak — all encapsulated by the voice of sanity in his lyrical fashion. His memorable tribute to Ernie Banks for WGN-Ch. 9 was a classic ode to Mr. Cub.

One of my favorite “Lin’s Bin” essays centered on the strange feeling of optimism at the start of the 2016 season, when the Cubs were favored to win it all after the 2015 run to the National League Championship Series.

Someone had asked Brehmer, “Do we really want the Cubs to win the World Series?” It was a valid question. The Cubs were special because all those years of losing didn’t deter one’s fandom. Would that change with a championship?


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