Paprocki will make his debut as PA announcer at Wrigley Field on Monday when the Cubs face the Nationals.
Many fans dream of having their voices echo around historic Wrigley Field while reading the names of Cy Young Award winners, MVPs and future Hall of Famers. One lifelong Cubs fan is getting his shot to do just that.
There’s going to be a new booming baritone voice heard around Wrigleyville and it belongs to 21-year-old Jeremiah Paprocki. The Cubs have hired Paprocki to be their new public address announcer, making him the first African American to hold the position in team history and one of the youngest in MLB.
He’ll make his Wrigley Field debut on Monday when the Cubs take on the Nationals.
“Who’s ever heard of a 21-year-old PA announcer?” Paprocki told the Sun-Times. “That truly means the world that the Chicago Cubs, my hometown team, the team that I love, is taking a chance on me.
“To be able to sit in that chair behind the microphone at Wrigley Field of all places, it’s truly an honor. I’m looking forward to that opportunity.”
The journey for Paprocki started in Chicago as a young sports fan with his eye on playing, until one day at the United Center. As he heard the voice of legendary Bulls announcer Tommy Edwards read the starting lineups, the light went on that broadcasting and ultimately PA announcing would be in his future.
From there started what has been a meteoric rise as a PA announcer after graduating from CICS Northtown Academy on the city’s North Side. He later made his mark at UIC, where he has not only been one of the voices of the Flames, but also where he’s currently a first-semester senior.
But that hasn’t stopped him from reaching the seat he’s always wanted.
“It’s a long time coming for me, even though I’m 21,” he said. “It’s the opportunity that I’ve been waiting for that we finally reached. We just gotta keep showing them why I deserve to be behind that microphone.”
“We are excited to see how fans respond to Jeremiah as we feel his authentic, friendly voice perfectly suits the environment we aim to create at Wrigley Field,” Cubs vice president of marketing Lauren Fritts said. “We know Cubs fans value tradition, and with Jeremiah, we are thrilled to find both a longtime fan and a young professional who will thrive in this important role.”
Papracki’s Cubs roots didn’t start with him, but were passed down by his mom, who he says gets the credit for his love of baseball. His mom, Barbara, was even a Cubs parking attendant in the 1990s. Obviously, the news of her son’s new gig was well received.
“Man, she cried when she heard the news,” Paprocki said. “When the Cubs offered me the PA job, they were talking to me and I could hear her crying in the other room. It definitely means a lot for her to have been in that Cubs environment and now her son is the voice of Wrigley Field.”
These opportunities don’t come around often for young broadcasters, especially young Black broadcasters. While Paprocki always wants the work to speak for itself, he knows what his opportunity means for those who will come behind him.
“Being the first African American PA in Cubs history, it definitely means a lot,” he said. “I hope that it inspires other African-American boys and girls out there that are interested in broadcasting that opportunities are available to you if you keep going and to never stop and to never let anything discourage you from pursuing opportunities.”