Even after more than 20 years since his passing, the great announcer’s legacy lives on at every home game at Wrigley Field and in the hearts of every fan.
While Harry Caray began his broadcasting career that spanned 52 years, covering five Major League Baseball clubs, he is undoubtedly most synonymous with the Chicago Cubs.
From 1982 all the way up until his final season in 1997, the immensely beloved Caray could be heard calling every Cubs game on WGN.
Caray himself was a talented baseball player and a standout and was even offered an opportunity to play at the University of Alabama. In the midst of World War II, Caray declined to attend the college to help serve his country, enlisting in the Armed Forces.
However, due to his poor eyesight, he was denied. Wanted to stay close to the game he loved the most, Caray began to pursue a career in broadcasting and landed a job with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1945.
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Also briefly calling games for St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Flyers, the city’s hockey team, Caray enjoyed a near 25 career calling games for the Redbirds, which included three World Series (1964, 1967-68) with fellow Hall of Famer, Jack Buck.
Caray was nearly killed after being struck by a car while crossing the street which resulted in him suffering two broken legs in November 1968. He returned for Opening Day in 1969 and, in classic Harry fashion, emphatically threw his two canes aside, walking across the field on his own accord to astounding cheers from the St. Louis crowd at Busch Stadium II.
Caray’s car accident has been long speculated to be linked to his rumored affair with Anheuser-Busch’s CEO and Cardinals President, Gussie Bush’s daughter-in-law.
Bush declined to renew Caray’s contract after the ’69 season, tossing aside the rumors of an affair and citing a recommendation from Anheuser–Busch’s marketing department after Caray was seen drinking a can of Schlitz beer at a press conference.
His time with the Cardinals’ organization had come to an end after 25 years. At that time, he was the longest tenured broadcaster in baseball.
He made a brief stop in Oakland for 1970 season as the broadcaster of the Athletics, but that marriage lasted only one season. Caray claimed that A’s owner Charles O. Finley and longtime announcer Monte Moore didn’t appreciate his free-wheeling, improvised approach to calling games and was a direct result of his one-and-done lone season in Oakland.