'Are you kidding me?'

Chuck Swirsky, the voice of the Raptors, is heading to Chicago to call games for the Bulls. SUN...

Chuck Swirsky, the voice of the Raptors, is heading to Chicago to call games for the Bulls. SUN MEDIA/Joe Warmington

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

We're not kidding, Chuck Swirsky is leaving The Fan 590.

The voice of the Toronto Raptors is heading to Chicago next autumn to replace Neil Funk as the radio play-by-play man for the Bulls alongside Bill Wennington.

The married father of three made the unexpected move for family reasons, which is fine with Fan 590 program director Nelson Millman.

"I brought him to town in 1998 when we got the Raptors' rights, I'll miss him, but he's doing this for absolutely all the right reasons," Millman said, not wishing to comment further.

The 54-year-old Swirsky, a native of Norfolk, Va., did both TV and radio work for the Raptors. Catch phrases such as "are you kidding me," "salami and cheese," and "onions, baby, onions," were heard often during games and on his afternoon talk show on the Fan.

"He really ratcheted up interest in the team," Millman said. "No one worked harder at his job or harder at promoting the Fan. He'll be with us for awhile yet and we'll get around to discussing replacements in the summer."

Swirsky, who became a Canadian citizen, was a sports-caster for WLUP in Chicago from 1980 to 1981, and the Bulls public address announcer from 1980 to 1983. He joined WGN radio in 1981 and worked games at DePaul University and for the football Bears.

He left WGN for Detroit where he did play-by-play for both Michigan basketball and football until the mid-1990s.

He began calling Raptors games on radio in the 1998-99 season and moved to TV in 2001. Last season, the team honoured him with a bobblehead.


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