Producers of “5 Outs” Cubs doc win Holtzman Award

The infamous miscatch that cost the Cubs the 2003 World Series

Comcast SportsNet, producer of the “5 Outs” documentary about the star-crossed 2003 Cubs that aired in October, has already won its first award. Co-producers Sarah Lauch, Ryan McGuffey and David Kaplan, will receive the Jerome Holtzman Award for contributions to Chicago baseball history.

They will receive the award, generated by the Chicago Baseball Museum, at the Pitch and Hit Club’s annual banquet Jan. 26 at the Carlisle Hotel in Lombard.

Dr. David Fletcher, president of the Chicago Baseball Museum (brother of Fletcher Cameras & Lenses Tom and Sally Fletcher), was impressed by the quality and historical narrative of “5 Outs,” when he viewed it at a recent advance screening.

“Sarah, Ryan and Kap put together a stand-out documentary  with ‘5 Outs,’ capturing the roller-coaster tragic events of the ’03 Cubs play-offs that is forever seared into the collective memory of Cubs fans and part of the franchise DNA,” said Fletcher.

David KaplanSarah Lauch and Ryan McGuffeyThe Holtzman Award is presented to person(s) who has made the most significant contribution to the preservation of Chicago baseball history and tradition.”

CSN Chicago senior producers Lauch and McGuffey often worked until the middle of the night, to pare down 13 hours of interviews for the 90-minute program.  Kaplan, already doing double duty as a CSN Chicago host and WGN-Radio sports-talk show host, added yet another hat,  booking interviews, including the exiled Sammy Sosa in Ft. Lauderdale.

Holtzman Award also an honor for CSN Chicago

McGuffey and Kaplan are Chicago-area natives, the former growing up in Portage, Ind., and the latter in Skokie. McGuffey started as an intern at CSN Chicago’s predecessor, Fox Sports Chicago, in 1999.

Lauch is a Lancaster, Pa. native who cut her teeth at CSN Philadelphia before moving here when CSN Chicago launched in 2004. “We’re honored,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it when I got a text from (CSN Chicago’s Jeff) Nuich. It was very, very nice.”

CSN Chicago brass was certainly pleased.

“Having Sarah, Ryan and Kap receive the prestigious Jerome Holtzman Award is a tremendous honor not only for them, but for all of us at Comcast SportsNet,” said VP/GM Phil Bedella. “Their brilliant work on ‘5 Outs’ was highly-acclaimed throughout the country and I couldn’t be prouder of the amazing efforts by these three standouts.”

Receiving the Holtzman award will further crowd Lauch’s mantle. She is the possessor of 13 Emmy Awards.

The editing process was a labor of love for McGuffey, who has long enjoyed baseball history.

“Some of the clouds that have hung over baseball the last 15 to 20 years, I think you really get a little bit more appreciation of the guys who played before that,” he said.

McGuffey and Kaplan hinted another Chicago sports history documentary will be in the works for 2014.  T

he award was named in honor of Jerome Holtzman, a Chicago sportswriter for 50 years, who also served as official historian for Major League Baseball from 1999 until his death in 2008.

Tickets for the Pitch and Hit Club event are $75 apiece or $750 per table of 10. They can be ordered from Bill Motluck at or 708/805-1928.

George Castle is a longtime Chicago sportswriter, author and sports historian.