We are pleased to announce that Chicago media personality David Kaplan will be inducted into The Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame with our 2021 class on October 28th at Wintrust Arena.
Commonly known in Chicago sports fan circles as "Kap", the David Kaplan story is a great one. The Skokie, IL native never set out to be in the media. He was a coach and scout first and his tale has one important theme, "Be available."
In 1986 Kaplan was a young assistant basketball coach at Northern Illinois University under his mentor John McDougal. He was four years into the role when he learned that McDougal had been fired. Knowing his fate as a coach at NIU would be coming to an end, he scrambled and pivoted. With little money and determined to build a bankroll for law school at Lewis University, he started calling college coaches and offering to sell his Chicago area scouting reports and tapes. A lover of the recruiting process, Kaplan had extensive research and information on Chicago area high school players that most college coaches didn't. It was a desperate but wise choice. Within a few weeks he started getting checks in the mail from coaches asking for more. Some of the checks were backdated assuming that Kaplan's new enterprise was a monthly newsletter. It quickly became one and law school was scrapped for The Windy City Roundball Review. A few years passed and the newsletter had grown to 250 subscribers and Kaplan had made a name for himself among Chicago area basketball junkies and national college coaches. You can catch him briefly in the iconic Chicago based and 1994 Oscar nominated film Hoop Dreams.
The innovation of the newsletter led Kaplan to start pondering his next move. Confident in his approach and knowledge of the Chicago basketball landscape, he started reaching out to local media personalities to share his wisdom. One of them called. Fellow Chicagoland Sports Hall of Famer Chet Coppock. Coppock had a weekly radio show in Chicago called Coppock on Sports" and was light on guests when a cancellation happened. He asked his producer to reach out to Kaplan and a media star was born. Kaplan would become the "go to" guest when future cancellations occurred, and his upbeat personality and extensive basketball knowledge impressed Coppock. With time, the name "Kap" was catching on with Chicago sports fans and he was taking television gigs when other announcers cancelled to cover High School Game of The Week and DePaul basketball games in addition to featuring as a guest on Coppock's show. He was always available.
David landed his own show with WMVP Radio in 1993 with recommendation from Coppock. It was a basketball themed show to start, but his extensive contact list and ability to book prestigious guests quickly elevated him to the top of the talent pool and he soon found himself reporting on all sports. A defining moment in Kaplan's career came in 1995 by a twist of fate. Kaplan was sick and running a fever when his old friend and colleague Thom Brennaman called. David had just wrapped his afternoon show when his phone rang. Brennaman and David had become pals covering college basketball games in what is now the Horizon League and Thom was now the voice of the Chicago Cubs. He was looking for a buddy to hang out with at the Cubs Convention. WMVP didn't offer contacts at the time so calling in sick for his afternoon show hadn't been an option, but attending the convention was going to be rough for Kaplan. With some ribbing and prodding from Brennaman, Kaplan reluctantly agreed to meet him out. At the convention, Brennaman introduced David to Tina LaSorte who was the Program Director at WGN Radio. Unbeknownst to him, she was a fan of his show and wanted to know if he was "available". Chicagoland Sports Hall of Famer Chuck Swirsky was leaving WGN and Tina needed to find a fresh voice. It was Kaplan's dream job. David took it and remained at WGN for 22 years where he solidified his name as a Chicago media great.
Today David is the host of the Kap and J Hood Show on ESPN 1000 Radio that airs M-F from 7am-10am and The NBC Sports Chicago Football Aftershow. Kaplan has won three Emmy Awards for his television work including 2 at Comcast SportsNet and 1 for hosting the highly successful A Piece of the Game which is a sports memorabilia show that airs nationally and has received multiple awards for excellence. In addition, he co-authored the award-winning "Around Town" column in the Chicago Tribune with longtime writer Fred Mitchell from 2009 to 2011. He is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches (IBCA) Hall of Fame and the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and was inducted into the prestigious WGN Radio Walk of Fame in May of 2018.
David Kaplan is the only person in Chicago media history to host a daily TV show, a daily radio show and write a regular column in a major newspaper all at the same time. We reached out to David to let him know the news and he sent us a note, "Call me anytime!!! My family and I are over the moon and humbled. I'm honored and thrilled to be included in this great fraternity of men and women that I've not only grown up idolizing, but had the amazing privilege of covering and working with as well. I can't wait to celebrate with my amazing fans and family on October 28th."
Welcome to The Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame David Kaplan!
Curtis Granderson is a Chicagoland Sports Hall of Famer. We are happy to announce that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at our awards dinner on October 28th at the Wintrust Arena. Curtis embodies just about every trait we look for in selecting candidates. A hometown hero, a stellar athletic career and a strong commitment to charitable endeavors, his work speaks volumes.
The son of two Chicago teachers, Curtis was born in 1981 and grew up in the south suburbs of Blue Island and Lynwood. He attended Thornton Fractional South for High School where he played baseball and basketball. An All-State selection his senior year on the diamond, he chose to attend college at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to play both baseball and basketball. An immediate impact player his freshman year, he led the UIC Flames with 7 home runs and 45 walks. Quitting basketball to focus on baseball, he continued his career at UIC hitting 304 as a sophomore leading the team in walks, home runs and total runs scored. In his junior season Curtis held a .483 batting average which was the second highest in the nation. He was named Second-Team All-American by Baseball America and USA Today's Baseball Weekly and a Third-Team Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-American. Curtis graduated from UIC with a double major in business administration and business marketing.
The Detroit Tigers selected Curtis in the third round of the 2002 MLB draft and he made his major league debut on September 13, 2004. He spent his first six of 16 total seasons in Detroit. In his career, Granderson played 2,057 games and totaled 1,800 hits, 344 home runs, 153 stolen bases, 937 RBIs and 1,217 runs scored. At retirement in January of 2020, he was MLB's active leader in triples, with 95. Granderson made it to the postseason eight times and played in two World Series, with the Tigers in 2006 and the Mets in '15.
His best seasons came in 2007 with the Tigers and 2011 with the Yankees. In '07, Granderson batted .302 with 23 homers, 26 steals and an MLB-best 23 triples. In '11, he hit 41 home runs, stole 25 bases, led the AL with 119 RBIs and the Majors with 136 runs scored while finishing fourth in American League MVP Award voting.
Curtis is well known for his contributions to his community. While still playing he was the 2016 winner of MLB's Roberto Clemente Award - given annually to a player who demonstrates Clemente's values of commitment to community and helping others - and he was also named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year four times by the MLB Players Association, including in 2019.
Granderson has served as an official ambassador for Major League Baseball International and has visited England, Italy, the Netherlands, France, South Africa, China, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan to promote the game. He has also served as something of an unofficial baseball ambassador to the African-American community, often participating in and initiating dialogue about the lack of Black players at all levels of the sport. When he endorsed Nike, Inc., Louisville Slugger and Rawlings, he asked them to donate money to his "Grand Kids" foundation or equipment to inner-city baseball programs rather than pay him. Most recently Curtis provided the narration for a video that went across all ballparks commemorating Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th of last month and he donated 42,000 meals to the COVID-19 food bank partners in honor of Robinson's jersey number 42.
In addition to his work with the "Grand Kids" foundation, in 2013 he donated $5 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago for the construction of their ballpark, Les Miller Field at Curtis Granderson Stadium. Welcome to the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame Curtis. You are most deserving!