Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Remembering Skip Caray

Longtime Braves announcer Skip Caray died suddenly last week, and yesterday, the team held a memorial service.

I thought I'd join the action with my own memories of Caray. I came of age as a baseball fan in the 1980s when the only games you could watch regularly were Braves games on WTBS. I was always a Dodger fan, but I liked the Braves and, like millions of others, I was a big Dale Murphy fan. Skip Caray was the voice of the Braves at the time, and his distinctive voice carried me through countless summers.

I'm pretty sure Caray called the infamous July 4, 1985, game that lasted 19 innings and finally ended at 3:53AM. I remember watching that game early in the evening, turning it off, and then turning on the TV at about 11pm California time to discover that the game was still going. It was a wild one. In the 18th, with the Mets leading by a run and two outs, light-hitting Braves pitcher Rick Camp hit the most improbable home run of any career to tie it up and send it to the 19th, when the Braves finally lost. Amazingly, even though it was 4 in the morning, the Braves followed through with their promised fireworks show for the remaining 8,000 fans.

I don't remember Skip Caray's reactions to that game, but I do have a favorite Skip Caray moment. It came later, must have been in the 1990s. The visiting team was trailing with one out in the top of the ninth and a runner on first. After the game, WTBS would show an episode of The Andy Griffith Show or Roseanne or some other sitcom, and Caray was doing a promo for the show when the next batter came to the plate.

I swear on my life that Caray said something along the lines of, "And we'll be showing 'Roseanne' just as soon as [the batter] hits into a 6-4-3 double play."

The VERY NEXT PITCH, the batter hit a grounder to the shortstop.

Caray, ever the professional, simply said, "6-"

The shortstop flipped the ball to the second baseman....

Caray said, "4-"

...who threw it to first.


As I and millions of other fans sat giggling or shouting at home, Caray and his broadcasting partners remained absolutely quiet for a good 15 seconds until finally he announced the final score and totals. He made no mention of his lucky prediction at all.

It was a great moment, one I'll never forget.


uurf said...

here's how I remember him:

"The 2-1. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes (Sid) Bream! Here's the throw to the plate! He is... safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!"

Skip Caray calling the Braves' Game Seven victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1992 NLCS

Needless to say not a good memory.

Oh, and who failed to throw out Bream who was basically hobbling around the bases on one leg? Yes, Barry Bonds.

David H. Martinez said...

I remember the throw was on target but just not strong enough. With two outs, Bream was running on contact so he had a big advantage. With a fast runner, it wouldn't have been close even with Roberto Clemente in left field. :)