Patterico's Pontifications

8/3/2008

Skip Caray (1939-2008)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 8:59 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Harry Christopher “Skip” Caray, Jr., broadcaster and long-time voice of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, died today at age 68 in Atlanta. He was the son of famed Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray and the father of Chip Caray, who rejoined the Braves’ broadcasting lineup in 2005.

The Carays – father and son – were invaluable additions to their teams. Many fans were familiar with Harry but my favorite was always Skip. When I was in law school, the only all-night TV stations in my area were a local station that carried The PTL Club with Jim and Tammy Faye Baker and Superstation WTBS of Atlanta. (WTBS began broadcasting via satellite in 1976.) I always welcomed the arrival of baseball season, and listening to Skip Caray broadcast the Braves games made me a fan for life.

Last September, Caray returned to announce Braves baseball as he was recovering from congestive heart failure. The Journal-Constitution (link below) notes Caray suffered from several other serious health problems.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s tribute to Caray is worth reading and it includes examples of his wry humor:

“And he made the call in the late innings of a lousy game in the lost season of 1979: “You have our permission to turn off the TV and go to bed now … as long as you promise to patronize our sponsors.”
***
Caray swore off alcohol as he became concerned about his health in 2000. But seven years later, amidst yet another meltdown by the Braves bullpen, he said: “The bases are loaded again, and I wish I was, too.”

It won’t be Braves baseball without Skip Caray. My condolences to his family.

— DRJ

9 Responses to “Skip Caray (1939-2008)”

  1. I used to love going to Turner Field and watching Skip do the pregame show from the WSB booth beyond center field. He would demand information from his producers so he could better answer the fans’ questions and assertions. A couple of times, I was privileged to shake his hand as he made his way to the press box. He expressed appreciation to me each time.

    My favorite Skip telecasts, however, were when he was with the Hawks on TBS. They were horrible, except for Dominique, and he would openly plea to Ted Turner to try to fix that mess of a franchise. Sure, he wanted the Hawks to win, but he was (precisely as his father) brutally frank as to their shortcomings.

    God bless you, Skip. And thanks.

    Ed (59b337)

  2. I listened to Harry Carey (Senior) on WGN (a cable option out of Chicago) when I was growing up, and hope that father and son are now kicking back with a dog and a beer, watching Heaven’s Greatest play a few exhibition innings just for them.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  3. As a long-time west coast guy, the Careys were a rare treat. A snippet here and there, at best. But I can see why fans adored them. When Cubs fans invade Petco, they are some kind of obnoxious. Worse than Dodger fans, and that is saying something. But Harry made the Cubs okay for a lot of us, even if we detest the fans’ arrogance. And no San Diegan ever forgave that despicable decision to put Rick Sutcliffe on the broadcast team. Sutcliffe? That’d be like hiring Tony Gwynn to do the Cubs broadcasts, for gawdsake. Ridiculous.

    And that arrogance of Cubs fans is pretty hard to comprehend after all those years of futility. The Padres? Sure they’re pathetic on many levels, but arrogance never enters their fans minds even with an occasional division championship, pennant, or World Series appearance. Okay, debacles to be honest. But, the Cubs haven’t even accomplished that much in how many years? And with probably twice the payroll or more. Where the hell does that arrogant snottiness come from? I really don’t care, but I hear it all the time from Padres diehards.

    Anyway…long live the Careys. Great ball people.

    allan (f190ca)

  4. The Braves have been blessed with really good announcers over the years, but Skip was always my favorite. He had a sense of humor that wouldn’t quit. Here are a couple of my favorite quips:

    “The Dodgers have taken the early lead, a revolting development if you’re a Braves fan.”

    “Pop foul, Greg Olson and Sid Bream give chase, but it goes out of play behind the Houston dugout. Sid Bream winds up in the Houston dugout, but no trade has been made, so he returns to his position.”

    Then there was the guest in the booth who asked Skip to do the “hot shot” thing. Skip said, “Hot shot down the third base line!” And then added, “I risk my career every time I use that expression.”

    Listening to Braves games will never be the same again. Thanks for the memories, Skip.

    Ray Major (9dd3a4)

  5. Being a lifelong Cardinal fan, the Caray’s were always a close second to the Buck family as far as announcers went. Listening to Harry on WGN was always a treat. TBS and the Braves were well served with Skip. Baseball is worse off today.

    JD (75f5c3)

  6. With all due respect, as a life – long suffering Cubs fan, Harry Carey was the only reason to even watch the telecasts for many years. But as for Chip…well, he was truly excreable when he worked here. Worst. Homer. Announcer. Ever. That particular apple fell quite far from that tree, IMHO.

    Dmac (82935d)

  7. I as many of his fans I am sure was shocked to read my paper here in Tallahassea this morning and learn of the passing of Skip Carey. For some many years we in Tallahassee had only the Braves a our Major League team thanks to TBS. I feel like I grew up with Skip and the gang, Don, Ernie, and the rest. Watching the Braves won’t be the same. God Bless you Skip Carey and my best to your family.

    John Joyce, Tallahassee

    John Joyce (3e56b7)

  8. I’ve spent my entire life watching the Braves play. Hearing Skip’s voice is like hearing my own dad speak. He holds a special place in my heart. Skip, you’ll be missed!

    MC (8f09f0)

  9. To those who haven’t had the benefit of listening to Skip Carey call a Braves game, you have missed something very special. Here in Georgia Skip along with Larry Munsen are an institution. You never got just a ball game called, you got entertainment. I’ve been watching the Braves since 80′ and and it was one of the highlites of my youth. I remember once when the game was on the line in the 9th, you could actually picture Skip readjusting his seat as he said “we’re getting down to cases”. Last night my buddy in Charleston and I in Augusta stayed on the phone and watched the whole game together with pauses in conversation to listen to the comments by everyone who knew Skip. And when we would resume,Thomas would say, personality Gerald, personality. I can say for him too that Skip will be greatly missed. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the whole Carey family as we feel that we have lost a part of our family as well, Gerald.

    gerald (1a2fea)


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