Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Happy Birthday Harry

Harry would have been 102 years old today. From Just One Bad Century...

~Harry Caray 1914 (Cubs announcer 1982-1997)
Harry was more than just the announcer for the Cubs. He was the symbol of the team during his time on the North Side. He had some great moments in the division winning year of 1984, but Cubs fans truly got a taste of what it would be without him when he had a stroke in 1987 and had to miss some time. When Harry Caray finally returned to the broadcast booth in May of 1987, it was a big deal across the country. He had been out of commission for the first month of the year, and WGN’s Superstation trumpeted his return across the nation. It seemed that every baseball fan in America was tuning in that day Harry returned. It also happened to be in an era when the President of the United States was a big Cubs fan, and he even called into the booth to wish Harry well. Most people would have been thrilled, but Harry took the phone call in stride, even when President Reagan said: “I just wanted to welcome you back. The Cubs need you, the baseball world needs you, and the country needs you. You’re great for baseball.” President Reagan went on to talk about Nancy, and Chicago, and his broadcasting days. Harry didn’t really seem to be paying attention to what the President said. Instead, he cut him off by saying “Mr. President, Bob Denier just singled and I’ve got to let you go.” Then he hung up on the President. How many people can say they have done that? Obviously, Ronald Reagan didn’t take it personally. The following season he came to Wrigley Field and did an inning with Harry in the booth. Harry passed away in February of 1998. He was replaced in the Cubs broadcast booth by his grandson Chip.

(In 1994, Harry also had the first lady of the country in the booth. It didn't turn out so well for her...)