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Down On The Farm: Interview with AAA Cubs' Randy Wehofer

Updated: May 18, 2020

Down on the Farm is a featurette series where we conduct a deep dive with a non-major league baseball team. We will sit down and talk with someone with the team to gain a deeper perspective. Today, I share the story of Randy Wehofer, the Assistant General Manager of the AAA Iowa Cubs.

At the end of April, I was fortunate to speak with Randy Wehofer, the Vice President and Assistant General Manager for the Iowa Cubs. With two decades of broadcasting experiences for both the Burlington Bees and Iowa Cubs under his belt, Randy was a great resource to learn a lot about the minor leagues.

Randy Wehofer

Randy's story is an enviable one. He grew up in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago in Palos Hills. He grew up among a family full of Cubs fans. Going through childhood, he had the same dream of many to play baseball as a Chicago Cub in Wrigley Field. He played first base, like his favorite childhood player, Bill Buckner. As a kid, you can be a good baseball player by being mentally aware. If you know where to line up on the field, you can be in position to make a play. That starts to end in high school, when raw talent catches up with the mental game. Randy realized his playing days might be ending, but he still wanted to be a part of baseball.

During Randy's freshman year, he had a teacher mention to him that he might be good on the radio, a compliment that stuck with Randy. When his playing career tapered down, his broadcasting career became a new priority. In 1993, he received an academic scholarship to the University of Miami in Florida, as a broadcast journalism major. It was a great experience that launched him into bigger and better things.

Florida was a hot place for sports in the early 1990's. The Miami Heat were founded in 1988 and gaining momentum, then the Marlins came in 1993. the University of Miami went to the College World Series during each of Randy's four years of school, which provided him with constant interesting sports stories. Randy was classmates with players like Alex Cora, Aubrey Huff, Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp. As he worked with his school's broadcasting program, he had the opportunity to call a lot of intriguing college games, and even a couple of semi-pro games. One highlight was Andre Dawson, another of Randy's favorite players, played in a game that Randy called. This great college experience laid the foundation for Randy's professional career.

Upon graduation, he began interning with One-on-One Sports, a sports news network which later became Yahoo Sports. He made his way to full time producer but missed doing play by play, so he went to the baseball Winter Meetings in 1998. Determined with passion, Randy walked away from the meetings with a job in Iowa as the new radio broadcaster for the Burlington Bees. He'd travel with the White Sox affiliate, calling baseball games nationwide.

One of his favorite memories from his time with the Bees happened in 1999, during a team road trip. Randy's travel printer ran out of ink before a night game, so he asked the bus driver to take him to Office Depot. The driver agreed, but said that they had to pick up a new player from the airport first. That player was White Sox legend Mark Buehrle. Buehrle had been drafted, but had just finished up his collegiate season, and was joining the minors mid-season. Yes, Mark Buehrle's first experience as a professional baseball player was sitting in the parking lot of an Office Depot so the radio broadcaster could print his notes for that evening's game.

The Bees became a Kansas City Royals affiliate in 2001. Randy was invited to joined the team at the baseball Winter Meetings. During that trip, they went to a nice dinner and rode in the same limo as George Brett. Work in baseball, and you'll run into some good players at some point!

Randy stayed with the Burlington Bees for nine years and officially became "the Voice of the Bees." He did solo play-by-play on the radio and conducted taped interviews with players. He got the chance to do play-by-play for a couple of big league Royals games as well. He would return to the Winter Meetings several times, getting the opportunity to serve as Master of Ceremonies for opening sessions and awards luncheons.

In 2008, Randy joined the Chicago Cubs family with the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines. He was brought on as a radio broadcaster, but also became an Account Executive for the team. In 2011, he was promoted to the position of Director of Media Relations, handling game notes, press releases, and media credentials for the team. He became a very busy guy handling radio broadcasting, ticket sales, and all things media for the Iowa Cubs.

Because of all of his media experience, he was able to spend a lot of time with many prospects who became mainstays for the 2016 World Series Champions. Randy remarked how nice guys like Kris Bryant were, and how he got to help prep them for handling touchy questions from Chicago media. He also spent extensive time with another childhood hero: Ryne Sandberg, Iowa’s 2010 manager. After some initial jitters from Randy, he soon realized that this baseball legend was a humble guy who conducted himself in a down to earth manner.

Randy provided a stable presence for the Iowa Cubs for many years and was promoted to Vice President and Assistant General Manager in 2017. The promotion may have taken away his broadcasting duties, but it was a good move for him because it allowed him to not to have to travel nearly as much and spend more time with his family. He's been a key figure in maintaining the Iowa Cubs' success in the PCL, helping them consistently rank 5th out of 16 teams in overall attendance despite playing in a small market.

Randy Wehofer has been a key figure for the Iowa Cubs. Between his on air contributions and front office work, he's a big part of the success of the team. His unique story is just once piece of the puzzle for the Iowa Cubs.


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