On this date 13 years ago, former Cardinals broadcaster Harry Caray died after collapsing during dinner four days before.
He was two weeks shy of his 84th birthday, but planned to continue his broadcasting career during the approaching season.
Caray made his mark as a major league broadcaster with the Cardinals, calling St. Louis games from 1945-69, a span that included three World Series Championships (1946, '64, '67 and four National League Pennants (1946, '64, '67 and '68.)
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One of the most animated broadcasters in the game, Caray would set the scene each day by opening with "Hello, everyone, this Haray Caray and it's a beautiful day for a ballgame."
Caray, a native St. Louisan, didn't fit the mold of most broadcasters when he broke in. He openly rooted for his home town Cardinals like he was just another fan in the stands. Like a disgruntled fan, he also could be fiercely critical of players when they played poorly or didn't hustle.
From the book Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans: If there is a seminal moment in Harry's professional life, it came when listening to Cardinals radio broadcasts and realizing that he could describe the games with more energy and excitement than the play-by-play announcer. He sent a letter to the general manager at KMOX radio in St. Louis, a powerful station that would later bill itself the "voice of St. Louis.
The GM didn't hand Caray the major league job. But he was impressed enough to hook him up with a radio station in Joliet and set him on his way to a Hall of Fame Broadcasting career. Caray, who had been a salesman and a bartender felt like he won the lottery.
"Could you imagine an orphan kid from St. Louis who suddenly finds himself broadcasting his beloved St. Louis Cardinals?" Caray said in a 1989 television interview.
Amongst Caray's most famous calls were his broadcast of his favorite player, Stan Musial's, 3,000th hit at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Stan the Man was being held out of the 1958 game so he could, hopefully, get the milestone basehit in front of the hometown fans in St. Louis. But the Cardinals needed a pinch hitter with the game on the line. "There it is, he came through!" Harry shouted as Musial doubled.
He also famously shouted "The Cardinals win the pennant! The Cardinals win the pennant! The Cardinals win the pennant!" when the club clinched its comeback 1964 National League championship in 1964. Then he dropped he micrphone and ran down to the field to celebrate with the players.
Bob Costas, during an interview about Harry Caray, noted that the announcer made games so exciting that Cardinals fans who heard him on the radio were sometimes disappointed when they showed up at the game in person and it didn't seem quite so exciting.
According to ESPN's report 13 years ago about Harry's death, Stan Musial was interviewed.
"I'm going to miss old Harry," Musial said. "He was always the life of the party. He was always the life of baseball."