Harry Caray

Last updated

Harry Caray
Harry Caray 1988.jpg
Caray in the Wrigley Field booth in 1988
Born:(1914-03-01)March 1, 1914
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died: February 18, 1998(1998-02-18) (aged 83)
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
As Broadcaster
Career highlights and awards

Harry Caray (born Harry Christopher Carabina; March 1, 1914 – February 18, 1998) was an American sportscaster on radio and television. He covered five Major League Baseball teams, beginning with 25 years of calling the games of the St. Louis Cardinals with two of these years also spent calling games for the St. Louis Browns. After a year working for the Oakland Athletics and eleven years with the Chicago White Sox, Caray spent the last sixteen years of his career as the announcer for the Chicago Cubs. [1]

Sports commentator Sports broadcaster who comments a live event

In sports broadcasting, a sports commentator gives a running commentary of a game or event in real time, usually during a live broadcast, traditionally delivered in the historical present tense. Radio was the first medium for sports broadcasts, and radio commentators must describe all aspects of the action to listeners who cannot see it for themselves. In the case of televised sports coverage, commentators are usually presented as a voiceover, with images of the contest shown on viewers' screens and sounds of the action and spectators heard in the background. Television commentators are rarely shown on screen during an event, though some networks choose to feature their announcers on camera either before or after the contest or briefly during breaks in the action.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the major league clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team in St. Louis, Missouri, United States

The St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Busch Stadium has been their home ballpark since 2006. One of the nation's oldest and most successful professional baseball clubs, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, more than any other NL team and second in MLB only to the New York Yankees. The team has won 19 National League pennants, third-most of any team. St. Louis has also won 14 division titles in the East and Central divisions.


Early life

Caray was born Harry Christopher Carabina to an Italian father and Romanian mother in St. Louis. [2] He was 14 when his mother, Daisy Argint, died from complications due to pneumonia. Caray did not have much recollection of his father, who went off to fight in the First World War. Caray went to live with his uncle John Argint and Aunt Doxie at 1909 LaSalle Avenue. Caray attended high school at Webster Groves High School. In this youth, Caray was said to be a talented baseball player. He possessed the tools to play at the next level; out of high school, the University of Alabama offered Caray a spot on the team. Due to financial woes, Caray could not accept. Around this time, World War II was occurring, so Caray tried to enlist into the Armed Forces, but got denied due to poor eyesight. With not being able to advance his physical side of baseball, and selling gym equipment was not enough, [3] he wanted to find another avenue to keep his love of baseball alive; through his voice. [4] He then spent a few years learning the trade at radio stations in Joliet, Illinois, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. While in Joliet, WCLS station manager Bob Holt suggested that Harry change his surname from Carabina (because according to Holt, it sounded too awkward on the air) to Caray.

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It has borders with the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometers, Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, Brașov, and Galați.

Joliet, Illinois City in Illinois, United States

Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County and a major part of the southwest Chicago metropolitan area. At the 2010 census, the city was the fourth largest in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. A population estimate in 2018 put Joliet's population at 150,495, which would make it the 3rd largest city in Illinois if accurate.

Kalamazoo, Michigan City in Michigan

Kalamazoo is a city in the southwest region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. As of the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a population of 74,262. Kalamazoo is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 335,340 as of 2015. Kalamazoo is equidistant from the major American cities of Chicago and Detroit, each less than 150 miles away.


St. Louis Cardinals/St. Louis Browns

Caray in 1951, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals Harry caray 1951.JPG
Caray in 1951, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals

Caray caught his break when he landed the job with the Cardinals in 1945 and, according to several histories of the franchise, proved as expert at selling the sponsor's beer as he'd been in selling the Cardinals on KMOX. Immediately preceding the Cardinal job, Caray announced hockey games for the St. Louis Flyers. Caray co-announced with Ralph Bouncer Taylor, former NHL player. On one occasion Taylor temporarily ended his retirement when he volunteered to play goalie for the Flyers in a regular season game with the team from Minnesota. (Caray and broadcast partner Gabby Street also called games for the St. Louis Browns in 19451946.) Caray was also seen as influential enough that he could affect team personnel moves; Cardinals historian Peter Golenbock (in The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns) has suggested Caray may have had a partial hand in the maneuvering that led to the exit of general manager Bing Devine, the man who had assembled the team that won the 1964 World Series, and of field manager Johnny Keane, whose rumored successor, Leo Durocher (the succession didn't pan out), was believed to have been supported by Caray for the job. Caray, however, stated in his autobiography that he liked Johnny Keane as a manager, and did not want to be involved in Keane's dismissal. [5] As the Cardinals' announcer, Caray broadcast three World Series (1964, 1967, and 1968) on NBC. [6]

The 1945 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 64th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 54th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 95–59 during the season and finished 2nd in the National League. The Cardinals set a Major League record which still stands, for the fewest double plays grounded into during a season, with only 75.

KMOX Radio station in St. Louis, Missouri

KMOX is a commercial AM radio station in St. Louis, Missouri. Owned by Entercom, it is a 50,000 watt Class A clear-channel station with a non-directional signal. The KMOX studios and offices are on Olive Street at Tucker Boulevard in the Park Pacific Building in St. Louis. KMOX refers to itself as "NewsRadio 1120 - The Voice of St. Louis." It is considered the first U.S. station to program all talk shows around the clock.

Ralph "Bouncer" Taylor was a professional ice hockey player who played for 13 seasons. He played for the Chicago Black Hawks and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. He coached the St. Louis Flyers in the American Hockey League.

In November 1968, Caray was nearly killed after being struck by an automobile while crossing a street in St. Louis; he suffered two broken legs in the accident, but recuperated in time to return to the broadcast booth for the start of the 1969 season. [7] Cardinals' president Gussie Busch, then CEO of owner Anheuser-Busch, spent lavishly to ensure Caray recovered, flying him on the company's planes to a company facility in Florida to rehabilitate and recuperate. [8] On Opening Day, fans cheered when he dramatically threw aside the two canes he had been using to cross the field and continued to the broadcast booth under his own power. [9]

The 1969 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 88th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 78th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 87–75 during the season and finished fourth in the newly established National League East, 13 games behind the eventual NL pennant and World Series champion New York Mets.

August Anheuser "Gussie" Busch Jr. was an American brewing magnate who built the Anheuser-Busch Companies into the largest brewery in the world by 1957 as company chairman from 1946 to 1975.

Anheuser-Busch American brewing company

Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC is an American brewing company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2008, it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev which also has its North American regional management headquarters in St. Louis.

Following the 1969 season, the Cardinals declined to renew Caray's contract after he had called their games for 25 years, his longest tenure with any sports team. [10] The team stated that the action had been taken on the recommendation of Anheuser–Busch's marketing department, but did not give specifics. At a news conference afterward, where he drank conspicuously from a can of Schlitz, at that time a major competitor to Anheuser–Busch, Caray dismissed that claim, saying no one was better at selling beer than he had been. Instead, he suggested, he had been the victim of rumors that he had had an affair with Gussie Busch's daughter-in-law. [11]

Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company

The Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was an American brewery based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and once the largest producer of beer in the United States. Its namesake beer, Schlitz, was known as "The beer that made Milwaukee famous" and was advertised with the slogan "When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer". Schlitz first became the largest beer producer in the US in 1902 and enjoyed that status at several points during the first half of the 20th century, exchanging the title with Anheuser-Busch multiple times during the 1950s.

Oakland Athletics

He spent one season broadcasting for the Athletics, in 1970, before, as he often told interviewers, he grew tired of owner Charles O. Finley's interference and accepted a job with the Chicago White Sox. (Apparently the feeling was mutual; Finley later said "that shit [Caray] pulled in St. Louis didn't go over here.") Finley wanted Caray to change his broadcast chant of "Holy Cow" to "Holy Mule." [12]

The 1970 Oakland Athletics season involved the A's finishing second in the American League West with a record of 89 wins and 73 losses. In 1970, owner Charlie Finley officially changed the team name from the Athletics to the "A's". An "apostrophe-s" was added to the cap and uniform emblem to reflect that fact.

Chicago White Sox Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The Chicago White Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. The White Sox are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, and play their home games at Guaranteed Rate Field, located on the city's South Side. They are one of two major league clubs in Chicago; the other is the Chicago Cubs of the National League (NL) Central division.

However, there were some reports that Caray and Finley did, in fact, work well with each other and that Caray's strained relationship with the A's came from longtime A's announcer Monte Moore; Caray was loose and free-wheeling while Moore was more restrained and sedate.

Chicago White Sox

Caray joined the Chicago White Sox in 1971 and quickly became popular with the South Side faithful and enjoying a reputation for joviality and public carousing (sometimes doing home game broadcasts shirtless from the bleachers). He wasn't always popular with players, however; Caray had an equivalent reputation of being critical of home team blunders.[ citation needed ] During his tenure with the White Sox, Caray was teamed with many color analysts who didn't work out well, including Bob Waller, Bill Mercer and ex-Major League catcher J. C. Martin, among others. But in 1976, during a game against the Texas Rangers, Caray had former outfielder Jimmy Piersall (who was working for the Rangers at the time) as a guest in the White Sox booth that night. The tandem proved to work so well that Piersall was hired to be Caray's partner in the White Sox radio and TV booth beginning in 1977. Piersall and Caray became very popular.

Among Caray's experiences during his time with the White Sox was the infamous "Disco Demolition Night" promotion. On July 12, 1979, what began as a promotional effort by Chicago radio station WLUP, the station's popular DJ Steve Dahl, and the Sox to sell seats at a White Sox/Detroit Tigers double-header resulted in a debacle. As Dahl blew up a crate full of disco records on the field after the first game had ended, thousands of rowdy fans from the sold-out event poured from the stands onto the field at Comiskey Park. Caray and Piersall, via the public address system, tried to calm the crowd and implored them to return to their seats, in vain. Eventually the field was cleared by Chicago Police in riot gear and the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game of the double-header due to the extensive damage done to the playing field. Caray left the White Sox after the 1981 season, replaced by Don Drysdale. However, the popular Caray was soon hired by the crosstown Cubs for the 1982 season.

Chicago Cubs

U.S. President Ronald Reagan in the press box with Caray during a 1988 game at Wrigley Field Ronald Reagan and Harry Caray 1988.jpg
U.S. President Ronald Reagan in the press box with Caray during a 1988 game at Wrigley Field

Caray increased his renown after joining the North Side Cubs following the 1981 season. In contrast to the "SportsVision" concept, the Cubs' own television outlet, WGN-TV, had become among the first of the cable television superstations, offering their programming to providers across the United States for free, and Caray became as famous nationwide as he had long been on the South Side and, previously, in St. Louis. In fact, Caray had already been affiliated with WGN for some years by then, as WGN actually produced the White Sox games for broadcast on competitor WSNS-TV, and Caray was a frequent sportscaster on the station's newscasts. Caray succeeded longtime Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, a beloved announcer and Chicago media fixture.

The timing worked in Caray's favor, as the Cubs ended up winning the National League East division title in 1984 with WGN-TV's nationwide audience following along. Millions came to love the microphone-swinging Caray, continuing his White Sox practice of leading the home crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh inning stretch, mimicking his mannerisms, his gravelly voice, his habit of mispronouncing or slurring some players' names — which some of the players mimicked in turn — and even his trademark barrel-shaped wide-rimmed glasses, prescribed for him by Dr. Cyril Nierman, O.D.

In February 1987 Caray suffered a stroke while at his winter home near Palm Springs, California, [13] just prior to spring training for the Cubs' 1987 season. This led to his absence from the broadcast booth through most of the first two months of the regular season, with WGN featuring a series of celebrity guest announcers on game telecasts while Caray recuperated. [14]

Caray's national popularity never flagged after that, although time eventually took a toll on him. Nicknamed "The Mayor of Rush Street", a reference to Chicago's famous tavern-dominated neighborhood and Caray's well-known taste for Budweiser, illness and age began to drain some of Caray's skills, even in spite of his remarkable recovery from the 1987 stroke. There were occasional calls for him to retire, but he was kept aboard past WGN's normal mandatory retirement age, an indication of how popular he was. Toward the end of his career, Caray's schedule was limited to home games and road trips to St. Louis and Milwaukee.

In December 1997, Caray's grandson Chip Caray was hired to share play-by-play duties for WGN's Cubs broadcasts with Caray for the following season. [15] However, Harry Caray died in February 1998, before the baseball season began, leaving the expected grandfather-grandson partnership in the broadcast booth unrealized.

The seventh-inning stretch

Caray using his net to catch a foul ball in the Cardinals broadcast booth, 1957. He continued this practice when he worked for other teams. Caray and net 1957.JPG
Caray using his net to catch a foul ball in the Cardinals broadcast booth, 1957. He continued this practice when he worked for other teams.

Caray is credited with popularizing the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Throughout his broadcasting career, Caray would sing the song in his booth. There would only be a few people who could hear Caray sing: his broadcast partners, WMAQ Radio producer Jay Scott, and the select fans whose seats were near the booth. Scott suggested that Caray's singing be put on the stadium public address system, in the early 1970s, but Caray and station management rejected the idea . When owner Bill Veeck took over the White Sox in 1976, he would observe Caray and some fans singing the song and wanted to incorporate Caray into a stadium-wide event.

It was a few games into the 1976 season when Veeck secretly placed a public-address microphone into Caray's booth and turned it on once Nancy Faust, the Comiskey Park organist, began playing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", so that everyone in the park could hear Caray singing. Veeck asked Caray if he would sing regularly, but the announcer initially wanted no part of it. Veeck advised Caray that he had already taped the announcer singing during commercial breaks and said he could play that recording if Caray preferred. When Caray questioned the idea, Veeck explained, "Anybody in the ballpark hearing you sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ knows that he can sing as well as you can. Probably better than you can. So he or she sings along. Hell, if you had a good singing voice, you'd intimidate them, and nobody would join in." [6]

Caray finally agreed to sing it live, accompanied by Faust on the organ, and went on to become famous for singing the tune, continuing to do so at Wrigley Field after becoming the broadcaster of the Chicago Cubs, using a hand-held microphone and holding it out outside the booth window. [16]

Many of these performances began with Caray speaking directly to the baseball fans in attendance either about the state of the day's game, or the Chicago weather, while the park organ held the opening chord of the song. Then with his trademark opening, "All right! Lemme hear ya! Ah-One! Ah-Two! Ah-Three!" Harry would launch into his distinctive, down-tempo version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". During his tenure announcing games at Comiskey Park and later Wrigley Field, he would often replace "root, root, root for the home team" with "root, root, root for the White Sox/Cubbies". For the lyrics "One, Two, Three, strikes you're out ..." Harry would usually hold the microphone out to the crowd to punctuate the climactic end of the song. And if the visitors were ahead in that game, Harry would typically make a plea to the home team's offense: "Let's get some runs!"

Once Caray died in 1998, the Cubs would bring in guest conductors of the song, this tradition is still alive to this day. His wife and grandson, Chip Caray, were the first people to guest conduct the song following his death. [17]

During the 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, as the Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Detroit Red Wings on New Year's Day 2009, former Blackhawks players Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Denis Savard and former Cubs players Ryne Sandberg and Ferguson Jenkins sang a hockey-themed version of the seventh-inning stretch; "Take Me Out to the Hockey Game" used lines such as "Root, root, root for the Blackhawks" and "One, two, three pucks, you're out." The Blackhawks would do this again in 2010 during the White Sox – Cubs game at Wrigley Field. [18] This time, it was members of the Stanley Cup winning team. [18]

Personality and style

Caray began his broadcasting career in St. Louis, where he was the third person at a local radio station. This meant that he was responsible for the commercials and quick breaks between the play-by-play announcers. His style of delivering the news was different than anybody else in St. Louis; he was critical, he told the truth and held nothing back. This style was typically only used in the newspaper business, so when Caray brought this style to the radio, his ratings and popularity rose exponentially. This led to him beginning to announce Cardinals games with Gabby Street. [6]

Caray had a number of broadcasting partners and colleagues through the years. He had a frosty relationship with Milo Hamilton, his first partner with the Cubs, who felt Caray had pushed him out in St. Louis in the mid-1950s. Hamilton (who'd been the presumptive successor to Jack Brickhouse prior to Caray's hiring) was fired by WGN in 1984; he claimed that station officials told him that the main reason was that Caray did not like him. [19] However, Caray also did not lack for broadcast companions who enjoyed his work and companionship. With the White Sox, his longest-serving partner was Jimmy Piersall; with the Cubs, he was teamed for 14 years with former pitcher Steve Stone.

Caray was known for his absolute support of the team for which he announced. While advertisers played up his habit of openly rooting for the Cubs from the booth (for example, a 1980s Budweiser ad described him as "Cub Fan, Bud Man" in a Blues Brothers-style parody of "Soul Man"), he had been even less restrained about rooting for the Cardinals when he broadcast for them. He said later that his firing from the Cardinals changed his outlook and made him realize that his passion was for the game itself, and the fans, more than anything else. He was also famous for his frequently exclaimed catchphrase "Holy Cow!" when his team hit a home run or turned a difficult play on field; he trained himself to use this expression to avoid any chance of accidentally using profanity on the air. [6] Caray also avoided any risk of mis-calling a home run, using what became a trademark home run call: "It might be ... it could be ... it IS! A home run! Holy cow!" He first used the "It might be ..." part of that expression on the air while covering a college baseball tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the early 1940s. [6]

Caray was one of the first announcers to step out of the booth while broadcasting a game. Often with his tenure with both the Cubs and White Sox, he would set up in the outfield and broadcast the game from a table amongst the fans. Caray said, "I am the eyes and ears of the fan. If I do not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the fan doesn’t want to know." [20] During his tenure with the White Sox Caray would often announce the game in the outfield bleachers, surrounded by beer cups and fans. [6]

One of his favorite things to do was to find a member of the opposing team and try to say their name backwards. When Caray had a stroke in 1987, this did not occur as often as before. A video of Caray trying to say Mark Grudzielanek's name backwards can be found here: [21]

Caray had a reputation for mastering all aspects of broadcasting: writing his own copy, conducting news interviews, writing and presenting editorials, covering other sports such as University of Missouri football, and hosting a sports talk program.

Non-baseball work

Though best known and honored for baseball work, Caray also called football (Missouri Tigers football), ice hockey (St. Louis Flyers), basketball (St. Louis Billikens, Boston Celtics and St. Louis Hawks) in the 1940s, 50s and '60s. Additionally, he broadcast eight Cotton Bowl Classic games (1958–64, 1966) on network radio.

Personal life

Caray was the uncle of actor Tim Dunigan known for playing many roles on both the screen and stage. His son Skip Caray followed him into the booth as a baseball broadcaster with the Atlanta Braves. Caray's broadcasting legacy was extended to a third-generation, as his grandson Chip Caray replaced Harry as the Cubs' play-by-play announcer from 1998 to 2004. Chip currently serves as the Braves television announcer on FOX Sports South.

On October 23, 1987, Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse opened in the Chicago Varnish Company Building, a Chicago Landmark building that is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are seven restaurants and an off-premises catering division which bear the Harry Caray name.

Rumored affair with Susan Busch

Rumors that Caray was having an affair with Susan Busch, wife of August Busch III, the oldest son of Cardinals president Gussie Busch, then a company executive and later CEO of Cardinals' owner Anheuser-Busch, began to circulate after she was involved in a single-car accident near her home in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue late one night in May 1968. She told police she was returning from a visit to "a friend"; the cause of the accident was never disclosed publicly and no further action was taken. However, her marriage to the younger Busch was failing due to his extreme commitment to the family business. [22]

According to Anheuser–Busch historian William Knoedelseder, the two had been seen eating together at Tony's, a popular and well-regarded St. Louis restaurant (where Knoedelseder later worked, and heard the story from more senior staff [23] ). Waitstaff present said the two were both extremely inebriated and openly affectionate. They stood out not only because both were well-recognized around St. Louis but because Caray was 22 years older than she. The restaurant's owner had to tell the staff not to stare at the couple. [22]

It also was rumored that the near-fatal car accident Caray suffered later that year was actually intentional and related to the alleged affair. Private investigators working for Busch had found that telephone records showed Caray and Susan Busch had made many calls to each other. They supposedly confronted him about the reported affair while he was in Florida recuperating. [24]

Susan divorced her husband shortly afterwards. She has only spoken about the alleged affair once since then, denying it. While she and the broadcaster were friends, "we were not a romance item by any means", she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . [22] Caray cited the rumors of the affair as the real reason the Cardinals declined to renew his contract after the disappointing 1969 season. [8]

Like Susan Busch, Caray, too, denied that the affair had occurred when asked, but according to Knoedelseder was less consistent, sometimes suggesting it had indeed occurred, and usually saying how flattered he was at the idea that a woman as attractive as Susan Busch would see him the same way. [22] [25] [26]


Harry Caray died on February 18, 1998 as a result of complications from a heart attack and brain damage. On Valentine's Day, Caray and his wife, "Dutchie" Goldman, were at a Rancho Mirage, California, restaurant celebrating the holiday when Caray collapsed during the meal. Steve Stone's 1999 publication Where’s Harry? suggests that Caray's head made contact with the table, resulting in a loss of consciousness. This has never been confirmed, but is one possibility. Caray was rushed to nearby Eisenhower Medical Center, where he never woke up from his coma and died on February 18, 1998. He was 83.

Caray's funeral was held on February 27, 1998 at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. The Chicago community came out to pay respect to the Hall of Fame announcer, including Chicago Cubs players Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace, manager Jim Riggleman, and ex-players Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe, and Billy Williams. Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, Mayor Richard Daley, and Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka were also in attendance. [27]

The organist of Holy Name Cathedral, Sal Soria, did not have any sheet music to play the song Caray made famous in the broadcast booth, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", which resulted in him borrowing the music. He said in a Chicago Tribune article, "I had to sort of somber it up and slow it down to make it a little more classy. Actually, it was kind of fun to do it". [27]

Harry Caray is buried at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois. [4]


Following his death, during the entire 1998 season the Cubs wore a patch on the sleeves of their uniforms depicting a caricature of Caray. Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa dedicated each of his 66 home runs that season to Caray. [28]

Caray had five children, three with his first wife, Dorothy, and two with his second wife, Marian. He married his third wife Delores "Dutchie" (Goldmann) on May 19, 1975. His son Skip Caray followed him into the booth as a baseball broadcaster with the Atlanta Braves until his death on August 3, 2008. Caray's broadcasting legacy was extended to a third generation, as his grandson Chip Caray replaced Harry as the Cubs' play-by-play announcer from 1998 to 2004. Chip later returned to work with his father Skip on Atlanta Braves broadcasts, where he had worked for a while in the early 1990s.

In what Harry Caray said was one of his proudest moments, he worked some innings in the same broadcast booth with his son and grandson, during a Cubs/Braves game on May 13, 1991. On-air in a professional setting, the younger men would refer to their seniors by their first names. During 1998, Chip would refer to the departed Harry in third person as "Granddad".

When the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games to win the 2016 World Series, Budweiser produced a celebratory commercial entitled "Harry Caray's Last Call" featuring Caray's call of the game using archived footage. [29]

Honors and special events

The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named Caray as Missouri Sportscaster of the Year twice (1959, 1960) and Illinois Sportscaster of the Year 10 times (1971–73, 75–78, 83–85), and inducted him into its NSSA Hall of Fame in 1988.

In 1989, the Baseball Hall of Fame presented Caray with the Ford C. Frick Award for "major contributions to baseball." That same year, he was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1990, and has his own star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. [30] [31]

On June 24, 1994, the Chicago Cubs had a special day honoring Harry for 50 years of broadcasting Major League Baseball. Sponsored by the Cubs and Kemper Insurance, pins were given out to some unknown number of fans in attendance that day. The pins had a picture of Harry, with writing saying "HARRY CARAY, 50 YEARS BROADCASTING, Kemper MUTUAL FUNDS" and "HOLY COW."

In 1994, Caray was the radio inductee into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Caray's style became fodder for pop culture parody as well, including a memorable Saturday Night Live recurring sketch featuring Caray (played by Will Ferrell) in various Weekend Update segments opposite Norm Macdonald and Colin Quinn. Caray would frequently abandon the topic he was supposed to be talking about and would drift into hypothetical topics like whether or not they would eat the moon if it were made of spare ribs and turning hot dogs into currency (20 hot dogs would equal roughly a nickel, depending on the strength of the yen). The sketch continued after Caray's death. When asked by Norm Macdonald about his death, Will Ferrell as Caray replied, "What's your point?" The Bob and Tom Show also had a Harry Caray parody show called "After Hours Sports", which eventually became "Afterlife Sports" after Caray's death, and the Heaven and Hell Baseball Game, in which Caray is the broadcast announcer for the games. On the Nickelodeon series Back at the Barnyard , news reporter Hilly Burford bears a strong resemblance to Caray, both in appearance and speech. In 2005, the cartoon Codename: Kids Next Door had two announcers reporting a baseball game. One was a parody of Caray, the other, Howard Cosell. Another Caray impersonation was done by Chicago radio personality Jim Volkman, heard most often on the Loop and AM1000. Also, comedian Artie Lange, in his standup, talks about Caray.

Caray can be briefly heard in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off , as a Cubs game is shown on a TV in a pizza parlor.

In 2008, a series of Chicago-area TV and radio ads for AT&T's Advanced TV featured comedian John Caponera impersonating the post-stroke version of Harry Caray. However, AT&T soon withdrew the spots following widespread criticism and a complaint by Caray's widow. [32]

Jeff Lawrence is known for his Harry Caray impression, most notably, he announced the Cubs' starting lineup while speaking like the post-stroke version of Caray before a nationally televised baseball game on Fox Sports. Jeff led the stadium in singing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame' in July 2016, dressed as Caray, including oversized glasses and wig.

Atlanta Braves pitcher Will Ohman performed a Harry Caray impersonation when announcing the starting lineup for the Atlanta Braves during a Fox Game of the Week in 2008. [33]

In 1988, Vess Beverage Inc. released and sold a Harry Caray signature soda, under the brand "Holy Cow", complete with his picture on every can. [34]

Related Research Articles

Chip Caray American sportscaster

Harry Christopher "Chip" Caray III is a television broadcaster for Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast's coverage of the Atlanta Braves baseball and Southeastern Conference basketball, and is an occasional radio broadcaster and co-host of the pre-game and post-game shows on the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Chip is also known from his time as a broadcaster for the Fox Saturday Game of the Week and as the television play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs from 1998 to 2004. He is the son of broadcaster Skip Caray, the grandson of broadcaster Harry Caray and the older half-brother of broadcaster Josh Caray.

Comiskey Park former baseball park

Comiskey Park was a baseball park in Chicago, Illinois, located in the Bridgeport neighborhood on the near-southwest side of the city. The stadium served as the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League from 1910 through 1990. Built by White Sox owner Charles Comiskey and designed by Zachary Taylor Davis, Comiskey Park hosted four World Series and more than 6,000 Major League Baseball games. Also, in one of the most famous boxing matches in history, the field was the site of the 1937 heavyweight title match in which Joe Louis defeated then champion James J. Braddock in eight rounds that launched Louis' unprecedented 11-plus year run as the heavyweight champion of the world.

Cubs–White Sox rivalry Major League Baseball cross-town rivalry in Chicago

The Cubs–White Sox rivalry refers to the Major League Baseball (MLB) geographical rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox. The Cubs are a member club of MLB's National League (NL) Central division, and play their home games at Wrigley Field, located on Chicago's North Side. The White Sox are a member club of MLB's American League (AL) Central division, and play their home games at Guaranteed Rate Field, located on Chicago's South Side.

Steve Stone (baseball) American baseball player and broadcaster

Steven Michael Stone is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) player, and current sportscaster and author.

Jack Brickhouse American sportscaster

John Beasley "Jack" Brickhouse was an American sportscaster. Known primarily for his play-by-play coverage of Chicago Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948 to 1981, he received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1985, Brickhouse was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame along with the Voice of the Yankees Mel Allen and Red Sox Voice Curt Gowdy. Brickhouse served as the organization's Secretary/Treasurer and was a member of its board of directors.

Ken Harrelson American baseball player and broadcaster

Kenneth Smith Harrelson, nicknamed "The Hawk" due to his distinctive profile, is an American former professional baseball All-Star first baseman and outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB). He is most widely known for his 33-year tenure as a broadcast announcer for the Chicago White Sox.

Len Joseph Kasper is a play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (2005–present) on WGN-TV, WLS-TV and NBC Sports Chicago.

Vince Lloyd American sports announcer

Vince Lloyd Skaff, who worked under the name Vince Lloyd, was a radio announcer for Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs for over 30 years. He also was the first radio voice in Chicago Bulls history.

Milo Hamilton American sports broadcaster

Leland Milo Hamilton was an American sportscaster, best known for calling play-by-play for seven different Major League Baseball teams since 1953. He received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Bob Elson Sportscaster

Robert A. Elson was a pioneering American sportscaster.

Cardinals–Cubs rivalry Major League Baseball rivalry

The Cardinals–Cubs rivalry, also called the Route 66 rivalry and The I-55 rivalry, refers to the rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs of the National League (NL), one of the most bitter rivalries in Major League Baseball and in all of North American professional sports. The Cardinals have won 19 NL pennants, while the Cubs have won 17. However, the Cardinals have a clear edge when it comes to World Series success, having won 11 championships to the Cubs' 3. Games between the two clubs see numerous visiting fans in either St. Louis's Busch Stadium or Chicago's Wrigley Field. When the NL split into two divisions in 1969, and later three divisions in 1994, the Cardinals and Cubs remained together.

Nancy Faust American musician

Nancy Faust is an American former stadium organist for Major League Baseball's Chicago White Sox.

Lorn Brown was a sports broadcaster who worked for baseball's AAA Iowa Oaks 1973–1974, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers (1980–1981), and New York Mets (1982), among other jobs. He once said that he changed the spelling of his first name from Lorne to Lorn because he didn't want to be confused with the actor Lorne Greene.

History of the Chicago Cubs

The following is a franchise history of the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball, a charter member of the National League who started play in the National Association in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings. The Chicago National League Ball Club is the only franchise to play continuously in the same city since the formation of the National League in 1876. They are the earliest formed active professional sports club in North America. In their history, they have also been known as the White Stockings, Orphans, and Colts.

1998 Chicago Cubs season Major League Baseball season

The 1998 Chicago Cubs season was the 127th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 123rd in the National League and the 83rd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished second in the National League Central with a record of 90–73.

WGN Sports was the programming division of WGN-TV, an independent television station located in Chicago, Illinois, United States – which is owned by the Nexstar Media Group – that was responsible for all sports broadcasts on the station, some of which were previously also broadcast on its former national superstation feed, WGN America.


  1. "A Baseball Life". Chicago Tribune. February 27, 1998. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  2. "Harry Caray's autobiography, "Holy Cow" Sneak Peek". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 22, 1998. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  3. [Jamail, M. (April 27, 2018). Harry Caray. Retrieved June 16, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Harry-Caray]
  4. 1 2 [Harry Caray (1914 - 1998). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://shsmo.org/historicmissourians/name/c/caray/]
  5. Holy Cow! Harry Caray with Bob Verdi, 1989, Villard Books
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Caray, Harry; Verdi, Bob (March 5, 1989). Holy Cow!. Villard. ISBN   0394574184.
  7. "How Harry Caray survived near-fatal car accident". RetroSimba. November 4, 2013.
  8. 1 2 Knoedelseder, William (2012). Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser–Busch and America's Kings of Beer. HarperCollins. p. 108. ISBN   9780062009272.
  9. Knoedelseder, 111
  10. "It's Official! Caray Fired, Tra-la, Tra-la". Chicago Tribune. UPI. October 10, 1969. p. 65.
  11. Knoedelseder, 112. "I gotta believe the real reason was that someone believed the rumor I was involved with young Busch's wife."
  12. Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman, p. 141, G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius. Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2010, ISBN   978-0-8027-1745-0
  13. "Harry Caray recovering from stroke". The Milwaukee Journal. February 18, 1987. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  14. "guest announcers for Harry Caray, 1987". chicago.epguides.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  15. Hirsley, Michael (December 18, 1997). "Cubs Adding a Caray to the Broadcast Booth". Chicago Tribune .
  16. Drehs, Wayne (July 8, 2008). "Thank Caray, Chicago for popularity of 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame'". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  17. [Gomez, L. (January 4, 2018). How a man and a song turned the seventh inning into hallowed Wrigley tradition. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/celebrity/chi-wrigley-field-7th-inning-stretch-harry-caray-20140401-column.html]
  18. 1 2 van Dyck, Dave (June 14, 2010). "Rivals unite in admiration of Stanley Cup". Chicago Tribune. p. 4.
  19. Smith, Curt (2005). Voices of Summer. New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN   0-7867-1446-8.
  20. [Hughes, P., & Miles, B. (2008). Harry Caray: Voice of the fans. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks MediaFusion.]
  21. [C. (October 9, 2012). Retrieved June 16, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNn-_FU-kiw]
  22. 1 2 3 4 Knoeldeseder, 106–107
  23. Knoedelseder, William (November 8, 2012). "Busch Unbottled: Divulging secrets from the sudsy to the sordid, a new book pops the top off St. Louis' beer-brewing dynasty". Riverfront Times (Interview). Interviewed by Chad Garrison. St. Louis. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  24. Feldmann, Doug (2013). Gibson's Last Stand: The Rise, Fall, and Near Misses of the St. Louis Cardinals, 1969-1975. University of Missouri Press. p. 53. ISBN   9780826272607.
  25. Bohn, Matt. "Harry Caray". Society for American Baseball Research . Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  26. Sherman, Ed (October 12, 2015). "Harry Caray forever linked to both Cardinals and Cubs". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  27. 1 2 [It Was Harry's Kind Of Funeral. (February 28, 1998). Retrieved from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-02-28/sports/9802280033_1_chip-caray-harry-caray-funeral-mass]
  28. Dedman, Bill (September 29, 1998). "Unlikely Season Of Dreams For Cubs". The New York Times. p. D3.
  29. Harry Caray's Last Call - Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions Budweiser on YouTube
  30. St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". stlouiswalkoffame.org. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  31. "Harry Caray". Radio Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  32. "Chicago does not appreciate your Harry Caray impersonator". March 11, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  33. "Braves reliever channels Harry Caray in player intro's". uatgsports.ca. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  34. Lazarus, George (March 11, 1988). "Harry Caray Joins Soft Drink Lineup". Chicago Tribune.
Preceded by
Jack Brickhouse
Chicago Cubs Television Play-By-Play Announcer
Succeeded by
Chip Caray