#Shortstops: Glasses Full for Harry Caray
Even though he was best known as a Cubs announcer, the man whose signature glasses wound up in Cooperstown helped him see more games than even the most avid fan.
For 25 seasons, Caray called games for the St. Louis Cardinals, only to be hazed by players who one day stole his glasses and dumped ice down his shirt.
But that was not the worst of it. He was eventually dismissed by management because they didn’t like his style.
“I was born and raised in St. Louis and I was a Cardinals fan all my life, so you can imagine what a fulfillment of a dream, broadcasting Cardinals games,” Caray told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I did that for 25 years.”
Caray wasn’t the typical announcer. He didn’t say what players wanted to hear; instead, what the fans wanted to hear.
"I jumped up and slammed my hand on the desk and said, 'Do you think you can read your paper if I'm broadcasting a game,’” Caray said in Voices of the Game, trying to explain why he should be in the booth. “'And isn't that what you want someone who makes you pay attention to the broadcast and nothing else?'"
After his time with the Cardinals, Caray had short stints announcing for the White Sox and the Oakland Athletics.
But then he found his true home – with a city and a fan base that not only accepted him but loved him.
Caray cared deeply about the fans and felt as if the experience was for them. His style was to call the game as if he was a fan because he wanted to tap into their minds, bring them closer to the game, and do something that no other announcer would even think about doing.
Wherever he went, his glasses, “as thick as the bottoms of Bud bottles,” he said in his book Holy Cow, became as much a trademark as his unmistakable voice. Those glasses are now preserved at the Hall of Fame, and Caray is there too – having won the Museum’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in 1989.
Sam Slackman is the 2022 licensing, sales and marketing intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development