This is the last in my current series of books about Harry Caray. It’s titled “I Remember Harry Caray”. It was published in 1998 (shortly after Harry’s death), and was written by Rich Wolfe and George Castle, with a Foreword by Jack Brickhouse.
By and large, the most interesting observations came not from family and friends, not from baseball people, not from players and not from broadcast partners and coworkers, but rather from other media members, entertainers and sports figures, and fans.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
– “What was the secret to Harry’s unbelievable appeal? He was a guaranteed audience builder. He was his own man. Harry never copied anybody. He was fearless when it came to criticism, when he felt it was required.”
– “Amazingly, through the entire generation-plus of his popularity on both sides of town in Chicago, Caray kept his home phone number listed. He and Bill Veeck were the top baseball people to remain so accessible at a time when celebrities spent untold thousands of bucks on security aids to maintain their privacy.”
– Tony LaRussa is quoted, almost comically, saying nothing for two pages.
– “When you’re hitting .198, you start beginning to think of your next career. And when Bob Uecker, little-used backup catcher of the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals, had show-business thoughts, he started out as a mimic – of Harry Caray.”
– “He loved baseball to the point where he thought fans sometimes might be cheated by lackadaisical play…”
– “I think Harry made a lot of people better people, by either coming out to the ballpark or listening to a broadcast.”
– “Harry Caray was a spellbinder, a dream-weaver. There won’t be another Harry Caray.”
– “He said players come and go, but people come to see the game.”
– “He drew more fans than the players during his two segments here.”
– “Harry entertained people by his rigid belief in how the game of baseball should be played.”
– “Harry was very competitive and almost cunning. He was critical of almost everybody except his boss.”
– “He could make any game better than it was…”
– “I don’t remember a day when he came out to Wrigley Field when he wasn’t in a good mood. That’s what I liked about him.”
– “Harry going to the Cubs made Wrigley Field an event rather than just a game. He made it a happening.”
– “…with Caray, it was, ‘Don’t listen to what I say. Listen to what I mean’.”
I enjoyed reading “I Remember Harry Caray”. In the eleven years since his death, perhaps some of the remembrances have lost a bit of their “Wow” factor, but I enjoyed reading about the guy who was the face of the Chicago Cubs franchise for so many years.