Results tagged ‘ Harry Caray ’
Even the biggest baseball fans can understand why outsiders occasionally find the game a little slow. Viewers have to love the chess match between pitcher and hitter, because the game moves at its own pace, runs without any sort of clock and even allows for pitchers who enter as reserves to warm up on the event’s time.
But 15 years ago, the 1998 Cubs squad became the must-see event of the summer—and not just in Chicago. Viewers around the country tuned in to WGN every day to see Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood and the cardiac Cubs stage one of the most dramatic seasons in Chicago baseball history.
Of course, Sosa’s historic assault on the record books probably had a lot to do with that. He and Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire blasted bombs at a dizzying pace all season long, which kept the nation’s eyes focused squarely on the NL Central. But while Sosa may have been the headliner on the North Side, the Cubs were an entertaining bunch from top to bottom.
Day after day, it seemed like the team was in a dogfight, and every win turned out to be vital, as the Cubs need an extra, 163rd contest to finalize their postseason push and give Chicago fans their first taste of meaningful October baseball in nearly a decade.
The 1998 season brought an array of emotions to the Wrigley faithful: the sorrow of broadcasting legends lost, the frustration of late-season opportunities that slipped out of the team’s hands—or gloves—and the excitement of the postseason run. Plus, it was the coming out party for a 6-foot-5 “kid” from Texas who struck out 20 opposing batters in only his fifth major league start—and did it against one of the most prolific offenses in the NL. You just can’t make this stuff up.
To commemorate all the ups and downs, Vine Line celebrates our 10 greatest moments from that historic 1998 campaign in the October issue of the magazine. Today marks the first part of the 10-part series, which we’ll post here on the blog in the coming days.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
4/3/98—Dutchie Caray honors her late husband
It was an uplifting year at the Friendly Confines, despite the loss of two of the most legendary voices in Cubs history. On Feb. 11, 1998, broadcasting icon Harry Caray died of cardiac arrest. Then Jack Brickhouse, who did play-by-play for the Cubs from 1948–81, passed away six months later on Aug. 6.
The Cubs honored the late Caray during the home opener on April 3 by having his wife, Dutchie, sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch, just as her husband had done countless times. Before the top of the seventh ended and prior to Dutchie taking the mic, the crowd broke out in a chant of, “Harry! Harry!”
“It was unbelievable. The people just took over for me,” said Dutchie Caray at the time. “These fans are so crazy about Harry. I don’t know if they’ll ever forget him.”
Dutchie wrapped up the touching tribute by hugging Harry’s grandson Chip, who had taken over in the broadcast booth, while blue and white balloons were released to the strains of “Amazing Grace.”
Join the Cubs and Harry Caray’s Tavern tonight for the 15th Annual Worldwide Toast to Harry Caray. As is tradition, fans from around the world will raise a Budweiser (Harry’s drink of choice) or other beverage in the legendary broadcaster’s memory.
The toast to Harry Caray will take place Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. CST at Harry Caray’s Tavern on Navy Pier. Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will join Dutchie Caray, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and other celebs to lead the toast.
This year’s toast is to “The Year of the Fan.” At 6 p.m., there will be a fireworks show over Lake Michigan, and guests will receive special hologram glasses that make the fireworks turn into thousands of little Harry images.
Over the years, more than five million fans from all 50 states and more than 100 countries have joined in the annual toast to the legendary broadcaster. If you can’t make it to Harry Caray’s tonight, just raise a glass to Harry at 5:30 p.m. local time anywhere in the world and tweet your toast using the hashtag #ToastToHarry. Go to the Harry Caray’s Facebook page for more info and participating locations around the country.
Any baseball fan has made at least one attempt to do their best Harry Caray impression. But nobody could excite a crowd like the man himself.
Monday marks the 15th anniversary of the beloved Cubs broadcaster’s death. Best known for singing the seventh inning stretch as well as openly rooting for the home team, Caray will also be remembered for his quirks up in the booth including unintentionally botching players names. His infamous “Holy Cow” home run call is still used today on the right field scoreboard.
Prior to working with the Cubs in 1981, Caray worked in the booth for the White Sox, the Athletics, and for the Cardinals and Browns in St. Louis.
Caray was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 for his contributions to baseball. He was also inducted into both the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame as well as the National Radio Hall of Fame.
The Cubs still honor the broadcasting icon by having a guest sing the stretch at every home game. He died at the age of 83.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The 28th Annual Cubs Convention kicks off Friday at a brand new location, the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event will welcome Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, Darwin Barney, and more than 50 former, current and future Cubs.
This got us thinking about some of the greats who have graced past Conventions, like Harry and Ronnie. So who are you excited to see this year?
Be sure to check out Vine Line’s landing page at http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/fan_forum/vineline.jsp
Yesterday was a historic day for former Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson. He finally was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after being eligible for the past nine years. His baseball career has finally come home.
However, in December of 1987, Vine Line captured what life is like for Andre Dawson at home. Just months after his mammoth NL MVP season, Dawson invited staff photographer Steve Green to document his life with wife Vanessa for one weekend at his home in Miami. Green was able to capture the essence of the All-Star outfielder–his work ethic, his interests outside of baseball and his motivations to be the best.Green was the proverbial “fly on the wall”, observing Dawson while he worked out, and while he visited his grandmother’s grave.
Vine Line offers some of Steve Green’s most intriguing images from his visit:
Green witnessed first-hand Dawson’s complete dedication and famed work ethic. Despite knees ravaged by injury and the brutal effects of playing 11 seasons on Astroturf, and in the pre-bodybuilder age of baseball, Dawson still easily was one of the best-conditioned players in the major leagues. “
The man wan’t about fancy stuff,” Green said. ”He was into body-weight resistance and cutting up, not bulking up.”
A the gravesite of his grandmother, Eunice Taylor, Dawson and wife Vanessa freshen up some flowers.
“It was real respectful,” Green said. “It’s where he got his motivation and fortitude. He grew up not in a really great area. So she kept him on the straight and narrow.”
Dawson even did some gardening and even engaged in one of his favorite hobbies–coin collecting. But Dawson said he wanted to be a Cub, and the fans welcomed him with open arms.
“He wanted to come to the Cubs. He loved the experience at the ballpark,” Green said. ”He wanted the exposure because he felt like he didn’t get that in Montreal. He had become a star, hero over night. Harry [Caray] had touted him. He became an icon.”