From The Archives: Harry Caray

Harry Caray, born Harry Christopher Carabina, (March 1, 1914 – February 18, 1998) was an American baseball broadcaster on radio and television. He covered four Major League Baseball teams, beginning with a long tenure calling the games of the St. Louis Cardinals, then the Oakland Athletics (for one year) and the Chicago White Sox (for eleven years), before ending his career as the announcer for the Chicago Cubs. (Wikipedia)

His famous seventh-inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” began during his tenure with the White Sox. Caray enthusiastically led the song’s singing during the seventh-inning stretch, using a hand-held microphone and holding it out outside the booth window. And, he inserted the home team’s name for “the home team” in the song’s lyric, a ritual still practiced by many baseball fans around the country. 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”. 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!” The seventh-inning stretch routine became Caray’s best-remembered trademark; after his death, the Cubs began a practice of inviting guest celebrities, local and national, to lead the singing Caray-style. The use of “guest conductors” continues to this day. (Wikipedia)

Caray maintained a winter home in Palm Springs, California, along with his primary residence in Chicago. As discussed in Steve Stone’s 1999 book, Where’s Harry?, Caray was at a Rancho Mirage restaurant on February 14, 1998, celebrating Valentine’s Day with his wife Dutchie, when he collapsed, and in the process allegedly hitting his head on the side of a restaurant table, and was rushed to nearby Eisenhower Medical Center. He never regained consciousness, dying of cardiac arrest with resulting brain damage four days later. Caray’s funeral took place in downtown Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral on February 27, two days before he would have turned 84. (Wikipedia)

Here are some favorite Harry Caray Quotes:

“Hello again, everybody. It’s a bee-yooo-tiful day for baseball.”

“It might be, it could be…. it is! A home run!”

“Holy Cow!”

“You know they’re not going to lose 162 consecutive games.”

“I’ve only been doing this fifty-four years. With a little experience, I might get better.”

“Now, you tell me, if I have a day off during the baseball season, where do you think I`ll spend it? The ballpark. I still love it. Always have, always will.”

“I figure I had no business being here this long anyway, so what do you care how old I am? I’ve been on borrowed time for years. You know my old saying: live it up, the meter’s running. I’ve always said that if you don’t have fun while you’re here, then it’s your fault. You only get to do this once.”

“When I die, I hope they don’t cremate me ‘cuz I’ll burn forever.”

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