In the wake of Dan McLaughlin’s departure from the team following his third DWI arrest, the search for a new play-by-play man for the St. Louis Cardinals continues. After being the favorite to land the coveted job, St. Louis native Aaron Goldsmith has apparently turned the Cardinals down.
In a further development, Chip Caray, another St. Louis native, has been hired to be the new play-by-play man for the St. Louis Cardinals. Most recently, Chip was a broadcaster for the reigning World Champion Atlanta Braves. A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism, Chip’s first job in baseball broadcasting was with the Seattle Mariners from 1993 to 1995. In the interim, he received a two game tryout with the Cardinals, but chose to remain with Seattle instead. At the same time, he was play-by-play man for the Orlando Magic of the NBA, leaving that position in 1998. In 1998, he became the voice of the Cubs after his grandfather Harry Caray’s death and stayed with the team until 2004.
What exactly does Chip Caray bring to the table in St. Louis? The most obvious thing is the fact that he is the Third Generation Caray to go into broadcasting. His father Skip had been a longtime Broadcaster with the Braves until his death in 2008. Not only is he the third generation Caray to go into broadcasting, but he will be following in his legendary grandfather’s footsteps when he begins calling games for the Cardinals in 2023. Harry began calling games for the Cardinals in 1945 and was teamed with Gabby Street, a former MLB player and manager of the 1931 World Champion Cardinals. Subsequent partners in the Cardinals’ booth included subsequent partners in the Cardinals’ booth included Stretch Miller, Gus Mancuso, Milo Hamilton, former Cardinal catcher Joe Garagiola, and Jack Buck. It was his association with Jack Buck that elevated him to legendary status. It has been said that Buck and Caray’s partnership helped give rise to the term “Cardinal Nation”. Buck started out broadcasting Cardinal games on KMOX Radio on 1954, but was dropped from the booth in 1959 in favor of Buddy Blattner. The famous duo was brought back together in 1961 and remained together through the 1969 Season.
In his time with the Cardinals, Harry Caray broadcast the 1957 All-Star Game, three World Series (1964, 1967 and 1968) and he had the call for Stan Musial’s 300th hit on May 13, 1958 against his future employers, the Chicago Cubs. While he was popular with the fans, even broadcasting a game from the stands during the pennant-winning 1964 Season, his tenure with the cardinals was not without controversy. According to author Peter Golenbock, during the 1964 Season, Caray may have had a hand in the dismissal of General Manager Bing Devine and manager Johnny Keane. Those accusations were later proved to be unfounded. After spending lavishly to ensure that Caray would be back in the booth following a November 1968 auto accident, Cardinals’ owner August A. “Gussie” Busch, Jr. decided not to renew Caray’s contract after the 1969 Season. No specific reason was ever given, but it was suggested that Harry was having an affair with Gussie’s daughter-in-law Susan. The rumors were never fully substantiated even though the steam supposedly hired a private eye and the rumors were supposedly confirmed. Whether or not they were true, the rumors were so strong that Caray cited them as the real reason for his firing from the Cardinals. However, Susan said in a 1995 interview that her relationship with Caray was never anything but above board.
After his dismissal from the Cardinals, Harry spent the 1970 Season with the Oakland A’s. He left after only the one year becoming tired of owner Charley Finley’s interference. In 1971, he joined the Chicago White Sox and stayed until 1982, when he moved to the Northside of Chicago and started calling games for the Cardinals’ rivals, the Chicago Cubs. As I said, Chip continues the broadcasting legacy established by his grandfather. Hopefully, his time with the team will just as enjoyable for the fans as his grandfather’s was. In a side note, the Caray broadcasting legacy is being carried on b y Chip’s twin sons Chris and Stefan who were recently named broadcasters for the Amarillo Sod Poodles, the AA Texas League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.