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Old 02-29-2020, 11:06 PM
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What was your opinion of Harry Carey?


Man, I kicked a hornets nest today.

So, for those old enough to remember, what was your opinion of Harry Carey? Preferably as a Cubs announcer, but all opinions are welcome.
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:49 PM
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He is what helped make me, a Detroit boy, a Cubs fan. Growing up watching the Cubs on WGN, with Harry, is what gave me a National League team to root for. His baseball voice is almost as woven into my childhood as Ernie Harwell's. (Almost.) In fact, I remember at one point being surprised anyone in my circle of friends knew who he was. I thought I had discovered Cubs baseball on a cable station and that this goofy looking guy with the big glasses was my own little secret there in Detroit.

But beyond those childhood memories, I don't really have an opinion of the man.
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:51 PM
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Loved him. My first trip to Wrigley Field was his last season. My dad got me hooked on the Cubs back in 1984, and Harry charmed me.
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:23 AM
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I grew up in SoCal as an Angels fan listening to Dick Enberg (and Vin Scully with the Dodgers). Carey was too homerish and clownish for my taste but he was fun to listen to. I miss the oldschool announcers.

Last edited by madsircool; 03-01-2020 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:26 PM
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My Dad was a huge Cardinals fan, so I grew up listening to Harry and Jack Buck announcing the games for the Cardinals. One of my most memorable moments as a kid was listening to Harry as he called the last game of the 1964 season, when the Cards clinched the pennant by a game over the Reds and Phillies. I was sad to see him leave St. Louis, and I had a hard time listening to him when he called the games for the Cubs.

Last edited by Railer13; 03-01-2020 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
In fact, I remember at one point being surprised anyone in my circle of friends knew who he was.
How many people knew who he was when Will Ferrell started doing him on SNL?

(I did, although I'm not sure how. I was never a Cubs fan, but I did live in Central Illinois and got WGN on cable TV.)
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:25 PM
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"Caray," I feel obliged to point out.
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Last edited by RickJay; 03-01-2020 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:32 PM
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My Dad was a huge Cardinals fan, so I grew up listening to Harry and Jack Buck announcing the games for the Cardinals. One of my most memorable moments as a kid was listening to Harry as he called the last game of the 1964 season, when the Cards clinched the pennant by a game over the Reds and Phillies. I was sad to see him leave St. Louis, and I had a hard time listening to him when he called the games for the Cubs.
I was brought up a Cubs fan and the Cards were the enemy. I stopped listening to Cubs games when Harry the enemy came to town. I also thought he was a terrible announcer. You could listen for an hour and never know the score.

When I got to LA I found Vin and THAT is a broadcaster. Spoiled me for listening to everyone else call a baseball game, for life.

Last edited by kayT; 03-01-2020 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:51 PM
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Did not see him much but he seemed drunk to me sometimes. Maybe that was just his personality. Will Ferrell played up the drunk stuff when he did the character.
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Old 03-01-2020, 03:51 PM
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Since that was not my part of the country I only knew him later when he had already reached icon status but well past his prime. I am a fan of the old time announcers but he was no Phil Rizzuto.

Last edited by Loach; 03-01-2020 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 03-01-2020, 04:57 PM
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I was brought up a Cubs fan and the Cards were the enemy. I stopped listening to Cubs games when Harry the enemy came to town. I also thought he was a terrible announcer. You could listen for an hour and never know the score.

When I got to LA I found Vin and THAT is a broadcaster. Spoiled me for listening to everyone else call a baseball game, for life.
I agree that Harry's broadcasting skills deteriorated over the years. Maybe my memory is jaded, but I thought he was much better in St. Louis than when he was in Chicago.

And you are right about Scully. Best baseball broadcaster I've ever heard.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:35 PM
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I grew up when Harry was the Cardinals' announcer. He was a "fan's announcer" and sometimes the game he was calling was a lot more exciting than the one that actually was happening on the field. I preferred Jack Buck.

I didn't hear much of him in the decade between the time he left the Cardinals and the time the Cubs hired him. When I saw him on WGN on cable, it struck me that he had pretty much quit calling the games entirely and was pretty much free-associating.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:40 PM
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I grew up when Harry was the Cardinals' announcer. He was a "fan's announcer" and sometimes the game he was calling was a lot more exciting than the one that actually was happening on the field. I preferred Jack Buck.

I didn't hear much of him in the decade between the time he left the Cardinals and the time the Cubs hired him. When I saw him on WGN on cable, it struck me that he had pretty much quit calling the games entirely and was pretty much free-associating.
Bolding mine. Excellent way to describe not only Harry but a lot of sports announcers! Also "free-associating" seems to be the current "method" for the current color announcers.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:45 PM
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I remember him best as the Sox announcer. He had already departed the Cardinals by the time I started tuning into KMOX (after dark only), and I left Chicago around the time he became the voice of the Cubs (to me, that'll always be Brickhouse on TV and Lloyd on the radio).

He wasn't one of my favorites, though I'm not sure I could tell you just why. Better than Rizzuto or Cosell, though.

Oh, he did have one year in Oakland. Must've been fun, Finley and Caray on the same side. For whatever reason he seems like he would've been miscast as the A's announcer...

Last edited by Ulf the Unwashed; 03-01-2020 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 03-02-2020, 11:33 AM
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He wasn't one of my favorites, though I'm not sure I could tell you just why. Better than Rizzuto or Cosell, though.
Way better than John Madden's football announcing, he'd fixate on something inconsequential then go off on a tangent and completely miss the action on the field.

Cantilevers, for example.
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Old 03-03-2020, 12:37 PM
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I always thought Carey was a no-nothing clown, but I never liked the Cubs and their lovable loser turned insufferable winners personas (he was really obnoxious during the 1984 NL East pennant race). I much preferred Carey's more humorous son Skip, who did the Braves' games on TBS.
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:01 PM
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His life was over before I even arrived out here to go to college, but he seemed much loved by the large majority of baseball fans that I met. I got the impression that he was as much a part of Wrigley Field and the Cubs as the Ivy on the famed brick walls.
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Old 03-03-2020, 02:12 PM
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So, after a lot of chat with Cubs people, it seems he’s got the reputation of being the good drunken uncle. Not the type that rants about politics or how much better things were back in the day, but the nice guy who rambled about baseball, occasionally getting a few facts wrong, but the heart was in the right place.
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Old 03-03-2020, 03:25 PM
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The Harry Caray who announced for the White Sox was outspoken, colorful, entertaining, and opinionated, especially during the five years (1977-81) when he worked with Jimmy Piersall. The Harry Caray who announced for the Cubs was a neutered shill. Matters got worse after he suffered a stroke in spring 1987. His faculties never fully recovered and he would constantly be getting names wrong, the score wrong, and the number of outs wrong, and the broadcasts consisted mostly of Steve Stone cleaning up his mistakes.

Also I got really tired of hearing "They're here from Pesotum". I didn't care.
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Old 03-03-2020, 03:59 PM
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I much preferred Carey's more humorous son Skip, who did the Braves' games on TBS.
Concur, due to being a Braves fan. I really miss Skip.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:17 PM
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So, after a lot of chat with Cubs people, it seems hes got the reputation of being the good drunken uncle. Not the type that rants about politics or how much better things were back in the day, but the nice guy who rambled about baseball, occasionally getting a few facts wrong, but the heart was in the right place.
That's pretty much how I view him, and I grew up with him being the voice of the Cubs. Kind of goofy and bumbling and having a weird fascination with trying to say players names backwards. Balanced by the excellent color commentary and analysis of Steve Stone, I loved this sportscasting duo.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:39 AM
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Nothing much to add that hasn't already been said. I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Harry. When I was young and found nostalgic old-timers a bit insufferable I disliked him. His random stories, gaffes and somewhat off-kilter announcing was a distraction from the game and generally gave me the sense that the Cubs were the 80's personification of "OK, boomer".

Then I got older, started going to Wrigley and downing beers in the bleachers and embracing the "world-largest beer garden" vibe of Cubs day-games it changed. Harry was basically the perfect carnival barker for what was usually some pretty forgettable baseball. He was the tipsy regular at the end of the bar that everyone liked, he was your grandpa who always had a random story about the good old days, and he was a pretty solid avatar for every bleacher bum. Harry became an irreplaceable part of being a Cubs fan, especially during the 7th inning stretch. I definitely became a fan at that point.

It helped that Steve Stone grew into one of the all-time best announcers out there. He got more outspoken and kept Harry reined in. Kept time with the at bats and made sure that there was always an adequate level of actual game calling going. Harry could then step things up a bit when there was a big moment with his signature calls or when the game stopped being interesting on the field. It was a pretty terrific pairing.

I think it's important when comparing Harry to other famous announcers to understand that in his latter Cubs days, he was NOT a play-by-play guy anymore. He was the color guy at that point, Stone developed into a rock solid play-by-play guy in practice if not in title. Harry was simply doing a different job than Brickhouse, Scully and Harwell.

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Old 03-04-2020, 09:03 PM
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I grew up in SoCal as an Angels fan listening to Dick Enberg (and Vin Scully with the Dodgers). Carey was too homerish and clownish for my taste but he was fun to listen to.
Add pompous, careless with names and facts and a classic front-runner. (Harry loved players as long as they were on hot streaks).

In David Halberstam's "October 1964" he related how Cards players believed Caray had a grudge against Ken Boyer dating from when they got into a tiff over Boyer's refusal to do an in-game interview. Backup Cards catcher Bob Uecker would do an impression of Caray sticking it to Boyer.

"Well here's the Captain, Ken Boyer coming up to bat. He haaaaasn't had an RBI in his last 52 games. I don't know why they continue to boo him at Busch Stadium ... Striiiiike one, he never took the bat off his shoulder. ...Striiiiike two...and Striiiiike three. ... He nevvvver even took the bat off his shoulder. ... I don't know why they keep booing him."

Harry Caray was a prince.
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:04 PM
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Last edited by Jackmannii; 03-04-2020 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Double post
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Old 03-05-2020, 02:14 PM
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I became a Cubs fan in part due to the Harry Caray / Steve Stone duo. Caray was the "drunk fun uncle" and Stone is, bar none, the best, most interesting sports announcer I've ever listened to. A win-win combination. I've never lived in Chicago. Hell, hardly ever been in Chicago except for O'Hare, but I'll always be a die-hard Cubs fan.

Last edited by divemaster; 03-05-2020 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:26 AM
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Here's something which I just found in my Facebook feed: Harry Caray gets held up at gunpoint, told by Steve Stone.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 03-26-2020 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:12 PM
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I was a kid in the 80s during Harry Carey's later years with the Cubs. This colors my perception because I mostly associate him with someone who would interrupt the cartoons I would normally watch on WGN whenever a Cubs game was on. So not, not a big fan.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:43 PM
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Here's something which I just found in my Facebook feed: Harry Caray gets held up at gunpoint, told by Steve Stone.
Weird that they don't actually have the audio there but link to it instead. Jump to the bookmark here.
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