Though Rooney’s salary is reportedly at the center of the breakup, Rooney will only say, “Things just didn’t work out, and I’m going to leave it at that.” The team broadcasts are switching from WMVP to WSCR next year.
Some fans are outraged. On a Sox blog, one e-mailer calls Rooney (abvoe) “that tenth man, the fan in the lucky seat.” Another frets that Rooney will end up on the wrong side of town: “The Cubs will offer him what he’s worth. After 5 minutes in the booth at Wrigley, he’ll become a national legend.”
Rooney’s melodious and sometimes gently humorous descriptions of the South Siders became the sound of summer for many Sox fans starting in 1988. For years, he’s also called games for network radio in addition to his Sox duties — he estimates he’s broadcast “nine or 10” World Series before.
His home-run call — “That’s a goner!” — was inspired when a drunken driver nearly caused him and his mother to crash near his hometown in the Kansas City area. “Mom looked at me and said, ‘We were about three seconds away from being a goner.’ That kind of stuck,” Rooney said.
Highlights? Rooney cites Carlton Fisk’s breaking the record for home runs by a catcher and Bobby Thigpen’s setting the saves record with 57, both in 1990 — “a wonderfully surprising season.” Jack McDowell winning the Cy Young award in 1992 and Bo Jackson’s home run to wrap up the 1993 Western Division title were special, too. “There are so many [memories],” Rooney said.