You could fill Grimey’s New & Preloved Music record store with hours of iconic announcers calling the biggest moments in sports history. While play-by-play commentators on ABC or CBS call action at the national level, it’s the men and women in our hometowns who, year after year, give our favorite teams a voice that never fades away.
In Chicago, Illinois, there will never be another Harry Caray.
Caray was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where he began his broadcasting career in 1945. After 25 years calling St. Louis Cardinals’ games and an alleged affair with the daughter-in-law of Cardinals President Gussie Busch, Caray was (as he remembered it) “pushed” out of the booth. He spent one year working Oakland Athletics’ games before heading back to the Midwest, spending 11 seasons with the Chicago White Sox.
In 1981, Caray landed his most famous role with the Chicago Cubs, calling games for nearly two decades before his death on February 18, 1998.
Today, Caray’s statue stands outside Wrigley Field.
Caray’s energy and approach, plus those patented black-framed glasses, gave Cubs baseball a unique flare no other MLB team could match. His personality was so well-known and beloved that comedian Will Ferrell impersonated Caray during his years on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
Ferrell honored the Cubs broadcaster numerous times. None were more famous than when he interviewed astrophysicist Dr. Kent Wahler, played by Jeff Goldblum (who struggled not to break character), about finding life on Jupiter’s moons, how Caray got the nickname “Whiskers,” and eating a moon made of barbecue spare ribs.
“Space, The Infinite Frontier” is one of SNL’s most popular segments ever.
Will Ferrell’s Harry Caray Impression
Caray famously sang “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” with Cubs’ crowds during the seventh-inning stretch, a tradition many famous celebrities have carried on at Wrigley Field, ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Eddie Vedder to Vince Vaughn to Bill Murray.
Ferrell even brought back his Caray impression and joined Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka for their own rendition back in 2005.
Will Ferrell, Mike Ditka Sing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”
Caray didn’t get to see Chicago win the 2016 World Series, but Anheuser-Busch ? the St. Louis-based brewery that makes Budweiser ? honored its hometown hero with a special series of commercials after the Cubs’ victory.
Fittingly, parts of Caray’s broadcasting career were mashed up into a stirring tribute. There was no better or simpler way to honor a legend than reviving Caray’s patented, “CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!”