News & Politics » Year In Review

What'd He Say?

Harry Caray: A Season on the Blink

by

comment

In the world of blustery broadcaster Harry Caray, anything can happen--as evidenced by his election to the broadcasting wing of the baseball Hall of Fame this year. When Harry announces Cubs games at the WGN microphone, one-hoppers back to the mound become line drives, right-handers become lefties, and sluggers swing at their own curveballs.

Highlights from the 1989 season's misplay-by-play:

On April 11, Saint Louis manager Whitey Herzog shuffles to the mound, tapping his right elbow. Harry announces, "He's pointing to the left-hander." As the right-hander trots in and color commentator Steve Stone corrects him, Harry says, "The right-hander. Right."

April 12: The Cubs lead with two outs and a Cardinal on first base in the ninth. Just before newly acquired pitcher Paul Kilgus is tagged for a two-run homer, Harry gloats, "I don't hear anybody criticizing the trades that Jim Frey made now . . . Ohhhhhh, there's a long fly! It might stay in . . . It doesn't."

May 27: A Reds batter steps up to the plate, and Harry, his mind elsewhere, wishfully announces, "Here's Tom Collins . . . Dave Collins."

June 2: Ryne Sandberg hits a home run--almost. But at least Ryno collects an RBI--well, he might have. "Here's a long drive . . . it might be! . . . it could be! . . . it hits off the top . . . now here's a runner around third gonna score! . . . they hold him up."

June 2: John Costello comes in to pitch for the Cardinals. "Costello has been with the Cubs since 1983."

June 6: Harry, on radio, describes a bang-bang play. "Berryhill drives it into right . . . now here's the runner on first gonna try for third . . . it's gonna be a close play! And Berryhill goes back to first."

June 6: Calvin Schiraldi comes to the mound. "Here's Abaldaraldi . . . "

June 7: Dunston hits a ground ball back to the pitcher. "Whooaa! Line drive! The throw is wide of the bag . . . on a one-hopper."

June 10: Harry reads baseball scores. "Minnesota defeated the Cubs, 5-2 . . . [long pause] . . . defeated the White Sox, rather."

June 14: Harry repeatedly identifies a woman, who is seen cuddling a newborn in the Cubs' box at Shea, as Don Zimmer's wife. Who she really is: Zimmer's daughter.

June 16: Hubie Brooks hits a low line drive that bounces in front of the outfielders. "There's a drive, way back, way back, off the wall . . ."

June 26: Barry Bonds lines out to Cubs outfielder Dwight Smith. "There's a line drive . . . caught by Darryl Smith."

July 7: Harry coins a phrase. "Schiraldi comes in with the tying run on second, the winning run on first, and the insurance man at the plate."

July 9: Harry shills for suds. "It's a hot day and [ump] Frank Pulli is showing all the signs of it. You know it's going to be a cold Budweiser after the game."

July 30: Harry alludes to the injury of Keith Hernandez. "How could [the Mets] lose Henderson, a great first baseman, and not be affected?"

August 5: Mark Grace hits a ground-rule double. "He swings and hits a line drive . . . base hit . . . [long pause] . . . did it go out?"

August 7: Dunston makes an acrobatic toss. "He looks like Sky Jordan. He's the Michael Jackson of baseball."

August 10: "Scott Sanderson, who pitched eight games Sunday . . . eight innings Sunday . . ."

August 11: Harry runs out of fingers. "Sandberg has hit home runs in five straight games, the first time in 61 years that a Cub has done that. Hack Wilson did it in . . . uh . . . 19 . . . back in 19 . . . lessee . . . well, anyway, it was 61 years ago."

August 16: Jerome Walton doubles, driving in two runs. "Holy cow, what a year that kid is hitting . . . having . . . That's his 37th run BI . . . RBI."

August 18: Grace hits a long foul ball. "There's a drive . . . if it stays fair . . . FAIR BALL! . . . Oh, it goes foul."

August 18 (a Friday): "Spillman is 2 out of 12 and he played last night, or Sunday I guess it was, or last game anyway, he played and got 2 out of 3 . . . "

August 21: Harry praises Damon Berryhill's contribution to the Cubs. "He's been a big clog in the Cubs' machine."

August 21: Grace hits a home run--give or take ten feet. "Line drive! Way back! It could be! It might be! IT IS! . . . off the wall . . ."

August 21: The Cubs put the tying run on base--Ryne Sandberg. "We've got the right man on first: speedy Ryne Sanderson."

August 28: The Cubs are working on a shutout. "The Cubs are leading 4-3 . . . 4-0 in the bottom of the third."

August 29: Harry interrogates actor Jim Belushi in the broadcast booth: "Do you carry the love interest in your latest movie?" After Belushi stammers an answer, Harry blurts, "Who do you make love to?" After a seemingly shocked silence, Harry amends, "I mean, in the movie!" Belushi is not heard from again.

September 1: Dunston backs up for a pop fly over short. "There's a high pop foul . . . fair ball, rather . . . to short left field."

September 4: Darryl Strawberry rips a Sutcliffe pitch down the right-field line, foul by a foot: "Base hit! . . . Foul ball."

September 4: Harry calculates the magic number. "If the Cubs beat New York, and Montreal beats Saint Louis, their lead would double from a game and a half to three games." After Stone points out that the lead would be two and a half games, Harry says, "Yeah, the original lead."

September 6: Grace grounds out. "A little tap . . . that's going to be easy . . . maybe . . . gotta chance to beat it out . . . he does. He's out at first base."

September 6: Joe Girardi, not to be confused with Calvin Shiraldi, hits a two-bagger. "A double for Giraldi."

September 6: The Phils lead 8-1 and are batting in the seventh. "The bases are loaded. I think that's what's gonna happen to me when the game is over. I'm gonna get loaded."

September 6: In Philadelphia, 17,272 people pay to see the Phillies play the Cubs. In six innings, Harry names 16 of them.

September 8: Lloyd McClendon forces a runner at second base with a ground ball. "Double play ball! To short . . . maybe . . . only one play . . . He had no chance to get a double play."

September 11: Mark Langston pitches to McClendon. "McClendon's pitch . . . uh, to McClendon."

September 13: Harry coins another phrase. "Bouncing ball . . . they got one . . . safe at first. They got the leading lady . . ."

September 13: Sandberg at bat, with 30 home runs and 96 runs scored. "You know, Sandberg leads the team in runs scored with 30. He's among the league leaders in runs scored."

September 13: With two outs in the ninth inning, the Cubs lead 3-1. "Well, get ready for another scene of pandemonia."

September 17: "There's Don Zimmer. Zimmer's gotta have the most photographed face in the world."

September 18: "Rusty Staub--started originally with the Houston Expos . . . Astros, rather."

September 20: Harry gives the score at the end of the second inning. "So at the end of four, we're still tied . . . at four."

September 22: Bobby Bonilla makes an error. "Bobby Bolinda fumbled the ball . . . Bolin . . . Bonilla."

September 23: Harry describes a T-shirt decorated with a license-plate design. "It says, 'Illinois, Land of England . . . Land of Lincoln, Cubs Win 89 . . . '"

September 25: Harry explains what happened. "Wrona was out trying to go to second, and Ramos was going to be doubled up trying to score. But Wrona threw the ball away. I mean, Fitzgerald threw the ball away."

September 25: Montreal's first batter of the inning steps to the plate. "Two out. Rather, oh-for-two for Galaragga."

September 26: Harry, apparently prompted by executive producer Arne Harris, refers to Sandberg's streak of errorless games. "The record held by Arne . . . Manny Trillo."

October 5: As Dunston breaks for second, Girardi throws his bat at a pitchout. "If Thompson had caught the bat instead of the ball, he might have tagged Shunston . . . Dunston out."

October 7: Sandberg checks his swing on a two-strike pitch. "He foul-tipped the ball. He foul-tipped it. No, he didn't. No, he foul-tipped it."

October 8: Harry reads the scoreboard. "One ball, no strikes, no balls, one to nothing in favor of the Cubs."

October 8: Luis Salazar hits a home run--really. "There's a line drive . . . way back . . . it might be out of here . . . GREAT CA-- it did go out of here."

Holy cow.

Add a comment