MLB Network had a special feature tonight on Harry Caray, who in my opinion was the greatest ever when you factor in that he worked in the mystical land of Chicago for so long along with all his over lovable shenanigans.
Caray was so much more than just a ‘Carnival Barker’ as they referred to him affably tonight on the documentary. He was a great baseball man – arguably the best model of a baseball man that one could exhibit. Harry really just was one of us, which was why he connected so well with the fans. He was the real article. He didn’t try to pretend to be anything to be liked – this was really a guy who set up calling baseball games with a cocktail lunch – carried the party through the ballgame and on into the evening for a nightcap.
And he was a true pro. There he would be the next day ready to call your game and go again after being seen around town at seemingly every spot there was at 70 years of age. I know that I can’t think about going out and doing what Harry did and I’m only 33.
I spent so many afternoons sick and home from school or on spring break just watching the Cubs on WGN in the spring. There was something magical about it.
Why are these damn neato Cubs always on television during the day time, and who is this kinda goofy old guy who makes me giggle. That was my feeling on the Cubs when I was my 11 or 12 year old self. But I could never turn them out – I can still hear Harry talk about his wife Dutchie, or Dana Demuth, Jose Vizcaino, or Rey Sanchez. If you watched the Cubs during those days and you don’t remember the magical way Harry slurred those very names on those bitter cold spring days at Wrigley; you aren’t being honest!
I know the Cubs weren’t very good – but is there anything more enchanting than thinking about the Wrigley Ivy, Caray, Bill Murray and friggin’ Steve Stone? And a 70 year old man heading out after nine innings to tear up a town like it’s routine.
This documentary really did a great job of endearing you to ol’ Harry. And I realized as I watched; that the fact is that Harry Caray made me smile then and now. He was nothing if he was not totally infectious if you’re a baseball lover.
I love this well-hidden gem/Caray story from the Deadspin comments:
There was an old story about one of Harry’s neighbors running into him standing near a taxi outside their building at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning. The neighbor jumped in the cab and mentioned to the driver it was nice to see Harry up and around that early, that it appeared he was taking better care of himself. The cabby looked at the guy and said “Hell, I’m just dropping him off, I’ve been driving him around to bars all night”
The Mayor of Rush Street. Helluva guy.