(1914 – 1998)
Harry Caray 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.
Caray was born Harry Christopher Carabina of Italian and Romanian parentage in one of the poorest sections of St. Louis. Caray played baseball at the semi-pro level for a short time before auditioning for a radio job at the age of 19. He then spent a few years learning the trade at radio stations in Joliet, Illinois and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Caray did play by-play for the St. Louis Hawks professional basketball team (now the Atlanta Hawks) and the University of Missouri football team, and he announced three Cotton Bowl games.
Caray caught his break when he landed the job with the Cardinals in 1945.
In November 1968 Caray was nearly killed after being struck by an automobile while crossing a street in St. Louis; he suffered two broken legs in the accident, but recuperated in time to return to the broadcast booth for the start of the 1969 season.
After the 1969 season, Caray was unexpectedly fired as the Cardinals’ lead broadcaster (his broadcast partner Jack Buck replaced him). He was with the St. Louis Cardinals for 25 years, his longest tenure with any sports team.
He spent one season broadcasting for the Athletics before joining the Chicago White Sox in 1971. Caray increased his renown after joining the North Side Cubs following the 1981 season. The timing worked in Caray’s favor, as the Cubs ended up winning the National League East division title in 1984 and radio station WGN’s nationwide audience. Millions came to love the microphone-swinging Caray, continuing his White Sox practice of leading the home crowd in singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch.
Though best known and honored for baseball work, Caray also called Missouri Tigers football as well as St. Louis Billikens, Boston Celtics and St. Louis Hawks basketball in the 1950s and ’60s. Additionally, he broadcast eight Cotton Bowl Classic games (1958-64, 1966) on network radio.