By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) My first interaction with Jimmy Piersall wasn’t a good one.
Up in the White Sox radio broadcast booth at Comiskey Park in 1981, a lucky recipient of an opportunity won at a charity auction, I was welcomed warmly by Harry Caray, as he invited me to sit down between his spot and Piersall’s.
“What the hell is that kid doing here?” Jimmy asked.
He was still kind enough to sign his picture in my game program at the conclusion of my time in booth, after Harry had allowed me to join the WMAQ broadcast more than once. It was a time that I was able to discuss with Jimmy many years later after I joined WSCR and he was an important voice on the station analyzing and criticizing the Cubs and the White Sox.
Much of the memorializing of Piersall on Sunday and today after his death at 87 has focused on some of his most outlandish behavior and many battles and controversies over the years, but I will always remember him as a fearless truth-teller, often to a fault. His keen observations and caustic wit could combine to unsettle, and that never bothered him.
That essence — the desire to describe what he really saw in a way that informed, entertained and refused to be polished around the edges by accepted custom — was important to the identity of an upstart radio station that was still trying to hone its collective voice in establishing itself.
In that way, Piersall will always be in the DNA of The Score, his unique personality and influence well appreciated.