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Very sad to hear that Chicago sports radio legend Les Grobstein has died. He was just 69.

Les is most famous, of course, for recording Lee Elia’s profanity-laced 1983 tirade against Cubs fans.

But there were so many facets to his life and career. The Grobber, as he was known, was so genuine, and so genuinely absorbed and consumed by Chicago sports. It was always a joy to catch up with him in the press box.

The Grobber was a classic. With a big heart. And a voracious appetite for sports.

I am sad to think that Les, Red Mottlow, Chet Coppock and Jerry Kuc—who all were dedicated sports radio pioneers—are all gone now. They were really talented men who did a great job of sharing their love of sports through broadcasting. But I also feel fortunate to have known them.

Les Grobstein’s encyclopedic knowledge of Chicago sports was above and beyond. When I told him I had written a novel about the 1908 Cubs, who won their second straight World Series, he interrupted that it could have been their third straight. The 1906 Cubs had famously won 116 games and infamously been upset in the World Series by the `Hitless Wonder’ White Sox.

``A lot of people thought the Cubs threw that series,’’ the Grobber said, trotting out details as if he had covered it.

Les was rarely content with merely going to one game in a day. Or working one shift.

Sometimes you would see him at an 11 a.m. Northwestern football game—after he had worked the overnight, helping insomniacs by talking sports. After feeding some interview tape, he would be off to a night game at Notre Dame. Or a high school event. Wherever a game was being played.

Cubs by day, Bulls by night. Bears by day, Blackhawks by night. College games wherever they fit in. I’m sure there were triple-headers, too. I’m not even sure he was getting paid for a lot of these events. He just wanted to be there.

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Les was, Have Microphone, Will Travel.

One night, he and David Schuster drove over to Detroit for a Blackhawks playoff game. And got in the car drove back to Chicago. But only after David pried him away from talking sports in the pressroom with his many fascinated friends.

The Grobber liked to keep his play-by-play skills sharp by whispering the play-by-play of Blackhawks games into his tape recorder until the first goal was scored. When sitting next to him, I used to root for a quick goal. Any goal. But looking back on it now, I realize it was quintessential Les Grobstein.

To some, his sports obsession bordered on the sports-nerdy. Or crossed that line. His radio colleagues and some callers would have fun with that. Sometimes Les rolled with it and played along. Sometimes he got very angry and argued back. It was very genuine. And very entertaining. Although there were moments when I thought people were mocking him in a way that was a little too edgy.

One of my favorite Grobber moments was when he was talking late-night sports with former Bears quarterback Bob Avellini, who was either a guest or co-host.

Anyway, they got to talking about when the Bears cut Avellini. And they disagreed about exactly how it happened. Really disagreed.

And Avellini said something like, ``Look, Les. This is trivia to you. But it was my life.’’

In a way, though, it was the Grobber’s life, too.

Listening to them go at it, while I was driving back from Champaign or Ann Arbor or wherever I was. . . that’s how I will always remember Les Grobstein.

Heartfelt condolences to his his long-time partner, Kathy, and son, Scott, and family. And to everyone who shared his joy of Chicago sports. There is a GoFundMe page that ``will support the family in funding the funeral services to commemorate the life and legacy of Les.’’