The spirit of Harry Caray lives on in Wrigley Field lore and his presence is still felt there today.
Harry’s grandson, Chip Caray, was hired to share the booth his famous grandfather before the start of the 1998 season. Sadly, the tandem would never call a game at Wrigley together as Harry passed away in February ’98 at the age of 83.
The Cubs organization and the Wrigley faithful mourned the death of their beloved announcer ahead of their memorable 1998 campaign.
The ’98 season would be dedicated to Harry, as the team wore caricature patches on their sleeves. As the ultimate nod to Harry, the Cubs won the National League wildcard in Game 163 against the San Francisco Giants, clinching their first playoff birth in nearly a decade.
While Harry’s absence from the booth was missed, his grandson Chip carried his legacy into the new year. Continuing his grandfather’s seventh-inning stretch tradition, Chip became the first person to lead the Wrigley crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The tradition has lived ever since in dedication to Harry, as a guest conductor leads the tune during every Wrigley Field home game.
Tearfully, during Game 5 of the 2016 World Series, I watched Pearl Jam frontman, Eddie Vedder lead the last rendition of the ’16 season at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were down 3-1 in the series and with archive footage of Harry joining the grunge star, Vedder let Harry take the reigns once more.
The Cubs eventually won that final game at Wrigley, as well as the remaining two in Cleveland to capture their first World Series Championship in 108 years and I like to think that Harry was the turning point we needed to start the historic comeback and finally win it all.
Harry Caray’s legacy with forever live on within the lore of the Chicago Cubs and will never be forgotten. Along with his seventh-inning stretch tradition, we can always look up towards the heavens, past the Wrigley Field green, and see his “Holy Cow” home run call forever stamped on the yellow foul pole.
He has become a pop-culture figure with fans donning Harry Caray glasses at games, Ryan Dempster‘s hilarious impressions over the years at Cubs games and conventions, and of course, Second City alum Will Ferrell’s impersonation of the Cub great on Saturday Night Live.
Despite having left us 21 years ago, Harry’s presence is still felt during every Chicago Cubs game which is why he is the perfect person to be anointed the first non-player “Hero of Wrigley” in the series.