View Full Version : Skip Carey passes away at 68

08-03-2008, 10:12 PM

ATLANTA -- The Braves family lost one of its most beloved members on Sunday, when Skip Caray passed away at his Atlanta-area home. He was 68.
Caray, who would have celebrated his 69th birthday on Aug. 12, went to take a nap Sunday afternoon and didn't awake. He is survived by his wife, Paula, two sons, Chip and Josh, two daughters, Shayelyn and Cindy, and seven grandchildren.

"Our baseball community has lost a legend today," said Braves president John Schuerholz. "The Braves family and Braves fans everywhere will sadly miss him. Our thoughts are with his wife Paula and his children."

The two sons will carry on the family's rich broadcasting tradition, which began with Skip's father, Harry Caray, a Hall of Fame announcer who remains one of the most popular figures in baseball history.

Josh currently calls games for the Braves' Class A affiliate in Rome, Ga., and Chip serves as both a Braves announcer and the play-by-play announcer for TBS' Major League Baseball coverage. Chip was broadcasting Sunday's game between the Angels and Yankees at Yankee Stadium when he heard the startling news about his father.

"I'm just in shock," Chip said. "I know he wasn't feeling good, but this was unexpected. He hung the moon for me. I got to talk to him [on Saturday], and the last thing I got to say to him was, 'I love you.'"

Caray, who began broadcasting Braves games in 1976, battled multiple ailments over the past year that he linked to diabetes. When he wasn't available to broadcast this past weekend's series against the Brewers, it was revealed that he was suffering from bronchitis.

Although he was visibly weaker, Caray still brought his smile and humor to the ballpark on a consistent basis this season. Since the final month of last season, he had been limited to broadcasting only home games.

Caray was hospitalized during the latter portion of last season and faced even greater complications once the season concluded. In October 2007, doctors were concerned enough about Caray's health that they asked for all of his family members to come to the hospital to possibly pay their last respects. His liver was failing and the doctors in the intensive care unit felt they had done all that they could do.

Caray battled back and spent most of this past winter continuing to fight ailments that were affecting his liver, kidneys and heart. He said some of his prescribed medications worked in a counteractive manner and made it difficult for him to sleep.

When Caray returned to broadcast games at the beginning of this season, he talked about his near-death experience and said that he was happy to at least have an opportunity to return to the baseball world that had provided so much to himself and his family.

"I'm 68," Caray said on April 2. "If I go tonight, I've had a hell of a life."

While his presence may be gone, Caray's voice will continue forever live with the history of the Braves. His most memorable call arguably came when he exclaimed, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" after Braves center fielder Marquis Grissom caught the final out of the 1995 World Series.

The son of a Hall of Fame broadcaster, Skip devoted much of his life to the broadcasting world. He began his broadcasting career at KMOX Radio in St. Louis as host of a 15-minute high school sports show and later had an opportunity to broadcast University of Missouri football games with his father.

While he was most recognizable as a baseball announcer, Caray's versatile broadcasting skills allowed him to serve as an announcer for NBA games, NFL games, and other ventures like the Goodwill Games. He was named Georgia Sportscaster of the Year six times.

Caray's baseball broadcasting career began in 1963 with the Tulsa Oilers. He joined the NBA's St. Louis Hawks' broadcasting team in 1967 and relocated with them to Atlanta the following year.

Caray's arrival in Atlanta allowed him the opportunity to develop a friendship and working relationship with Ted Turner, whose innovative media initiatives allowed Caray and his close friend, Pete Van Wieren, to broadcast Braves games to a national audience on a superstation that would become TBS.

Caray and Van Wieren began broadcasting Braves games together in 1976 and were still serving as broadcast partners during radio broadcasts this season. Both of them were inducted in the Braves Hall of Fame in 2004.

Last year, when TBS ended its 30-year affiliation with the Braves, Caray was saddened to know he was saying goodbye to a number of people that had been so good to him. He was always extremely grateful for the outpouring of sympathy he received after his father died in 1998.

"In essence, you're saying goodbye to people who you've been part of their life for a long time," Caray said last August. "My access to them will now be denied."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

08-03-2008, 10:14 PM
I loved Skip. I can't believe he's gone.

08-03-2008, 10:16 PM
Wow. I can't believe that. I didn't even know he was sick.

RIP Skip.

Chip R
08-03-2008, 10:45 PM
He made Braves games watchable for folks back when they stunk.

08-03-2008, 10:58 PM
He made Braves games watchable for folks back when they stunk.

And bearable when they became a pain in the side of the Reds...

Prayers to his family and friends...

08-03-2008, 11:17 PM
He made Braves games watchable for folks back when they stunk.

Skip was a really good announcer, it took me having to spend 1/2 of every year in Atlanta for 6 years to really sink that fact in, but he was quite good.

Another part of my youth vanishes.

08-03-2008, 11:24 PM

08-03-2008, 11:26 PM
I saw him in the press dining area back in May when the Reds were in Atlanta and was startled by how bad he looked. I had heard about his offseason health problems earlier in the spring, but his appearance still caught me off guard.

We're a Braves affiliate here at WCCP, and every morning we carry a recap of the previous night's game that one of the announcers records from the booth. Last week I noticed Skip seemed to be struggling more than usual, but still didn't see this coming.

After Marty, I've listened/watched Skip do baseball more than any other announcer. For a long, long time.

Sad, Sad day.

NC Reds
08-03-2008, 11:36 PM
I grew up in North Carolina as a Reds fan, but had to rely on WTBS and WGN for my exposure to the Reds on TV. Even though I pulled against Atlanta every time, I always enjoyed Skip Caray. He was terrific.

Rest in peace, Skip. You're teamed with your dad Harry again.

Team Clark
08-03-2008, 11:59 PM
Very sad. Grew up listening to Harry and Skip. They helped me cultivate the love that I have for the game.

08-04-2008, 12:37 AM
I used to hate Skip Carey. He was the voice of the evil Braves. As I grew older, I learned to appreciate his dry humor and excellent radio voice. I had no idea he was even sick.

Rest in peace, Skip.

08-04-2008, 07:07 AM
Really saddened to see this this morning. I always enjoyed his dry and sarcastic sense of humor. He was a very knowledgable baseball announcer who knew the game very well. Like most baseball announcers they are like old friends who come to visit everyday during the summer. I have one less friend now. RIP Skip Caray.

08-04-2008, 07:27 AM
Hell, I had no idea he was 68 even. He'll be missed. Love him or hate him he shaped a generation of baseball fans on those TBS broadcasts of Braves games.

08-04-2008, 07:51 AM
Sad to hear this; Skip was one of the good ones.

08-04-2008, 09:06 AM
Ugh. Always hate to hear of anyone's passing-- but it always sinks in a bit more when someone you associate with your childhood dies. Like many, I hated the Braves, but appreciated Skip and relied heavily on TBS for baseball exposure growing up.

I will always remember what a stark contrast he was to his Dad....Harry was obviously over-the-top, loud, etc... Skip was much more understated and subtle. Both were great, but I was always intruiged by the difference.

RIP Skip.

08-04-2008, 10:27 PM
Brennaman remembers Skip Caray
Longtime Reds announcer reflects on one of the best
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Marty Brennaman knew his friend Skip Caray had been ill, but Caray's death on Sunday night caught Brennaman off guard.

"It's a sad thing," he said Monday. "I mean, 68 years old would be viewed by some people as being old. But to me, that's young.

"It's a tremendous loss to the city of Atlanta and to the Atlanta Braves. I mean, he loved the Atlanta Braves; he loved being on the job. He worked right up until he passed away."

Brennaman said he called Caray's son, Chip, also a respected broadcaster, immediately. The two men didn't connect until earlier in the day on Monday. But they talked at length about a man that set a standard for broadcasting baseball that few will ever equal.

That was a feat in itself, since Skip Caray carried the genes of a broadcaster legend. He was the son of Harry Caray.

"He was smart enough to distance himself from his dad," said Brennaman, the longtime baseball voice of the Reds. "He and his dad were close. I mean, but Skip made as much of a mark for himself in Atlanta as Harry made for himself in Chicago -- and before that in St. Louis.

"I think Skip was smart enough to realize if he was going to create a career for himself -- and a successful career -- that's the route that he had to go, and he did it."

Brennaman described Skip Caray as a close friend. He also described him as a baseball broadcaster who treated his audience to a special brand of baseball insight.

Skip Caray, he said, was witty, self-deprecating and humorous.

"He could turn a phrase at the drop of a hat that would be applicable to something that was going on on the field or something that happened elsewhere in baseball or to some individual," Brennaman said. "He could stick a verbal barb into someone with the best of 'em.

"But at the same time, he could do it to himself, and I think that was one of the things that created the kind of appeal that he had and the kind of following that he had in Atlanta."

Yet Skip Caray was more than just a baseball broadcaster. Caray's golden voice called NBA games for years in Atlanta and St. Louis.

"He was really good," Brennaman said. "Like I said, there's a generation that doesn't even know this. All they know is Skip Caray the baseball announcer; they don't know Skip Caray the basketball announcer."

Caray's passing saddened Brennaman, who knew his friend had almost succumbed to his physical ails last November. But Caray fought the good fight. He fought it as long as he could.

He left behind plenty to remember. He left a void in the baseball booth that won't be easily filled. He was a broadcasting legend, just as his father was.

"Nobody can be as big as Harry -- nobody can," Brennaman said. "But given the fact that he was Harry's son, Skip forged for himself a tremendous career."


08-05-2008, 01:16 PM
Doesn't this make the Brennamans the only surviving father and son who announce MLB games?

08-05-2008, 01:34 PM
Doesn't this make the Brennamans the only surviving father and son who announce MLB games?

Darren and Don Sutton.

08-05-2008, 01:47 PM
Darren and Don Sutton.Thanks, I had forgotten about them.

08-05-2008, 01:54 PM
I forgot about Harry and Todd Kalas. Harry still announces for the Phillies while Todd works for the Rays.

08-05-2008, 02:29 PM
Front page of our website, from this morning's show.


Good stuff, re: talking with Chip yesterday and more.

08-05-2008, 02:57 PM
Skip was a great announcer. I really grew to enjoy listening to him when I lived in Atlanta.

One of my fondest memories of Skip was a few years back when Juan Encarnacion hit a grand slam against the Braves on opening day and Skip quipped "well, this season's all downhill for him from here on out"

I'll miss that sarcastic old cuss.

08-05-2008, 03:12 PM
That was a good interview Dan.

Thanks for sharing.

10-21-2008, 01:33 PM


Van Wieren surprises with retirement

Braves broadcaster of 33 seasons decides to make exit

By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Over the past 33 seasons the Braves have annually changed faces and maintained the same familiar sound provided by Pete Van Wieren and Skip Caray.

Sadly their days as the most recognizable broadcast duo in Braves history came to a close with Caray's passing in August. Saying goodbye to his close friend while continuing to perform the craft they shared together over the course of four decades was one of the toughest things Van Wieren ever experienced during his remarkable career.

Saying goodbye to two of his greatest passions -- the Braves and the game of baseball -- will also prove difficult at times. But with good health, Van Wieren has decided its time to step away from the microphone and spend more time with his family.

Van Wieren has informed the Braves that he has retired, effective immediately. The 64-year-old broadcaster will discuss his decision during a press conference at Turner Field on Tuesday afternoon.

"This is something my family and I have been thinking about the last couple of years," Van Wieren said. "It's simply a desire to live my life without the restrictions of a baseball schedule. I want to thank the Braves, my broadcast partners and especially the fans for their support over the years."

Displaying the same humility that followed him throughout his career, Van Wieren made this surprise announcement without fanfare or the desire to gain all of the deserved attention he would have garnered while making a "farewell tour" during the 2009 season.

"This is a monumental moment in Braves history and a sad one for me personally," Braves president John Schuerholz said. "Pete has been in our homes and in our lives as one of the great Braves voices, and we will sorely miss him. We wish him many years of good health and happiness in his retirement after 33 years as a beloved and admired voice of the Atlanta Braves."

After working his way through the Minor Leagues, Van Wieren realized his dream to be a Major League Baseball broadcaster in 1976, when he and Caray joined Ernie Johnson Sr. as part of a Braves broadcast team that would be recognized throughout the United States by those fans who watched the Braves on TBS.

With Johnson serving as the mentor, the trio developed a brotherly bond that they maintained long after Johnson retired. During their first game together, Van Wieren had trouble announcing the name of an on-air contest winner. This prompted Caray to introduce his wit by saying, "You're doing great so far."

Van Wieren still chuckles while reminiscing about that moment. Truthfully, he obviously made a solid early impression on the city of Atlanta. In 1977, The Atlanta Journal named him "Atlanta's Favorite Sportscaster."

That was the first of many honors that would be bestowed on Van Wieren, who was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame with Caray in 2004. Two years ago, Van Wieren was named Georgia's Sportscaster of the Year for the 10th time.

This past weekend, Van Wieren, Johnson and Caray were inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

During his early years with the Braves, when Ted Turner believed most of his employees should have multiple job responsibilities, Van Wieren doubled as the club's traveling secretary.

While saddened by Caray's passing, Van Wieren never showed indication that he was planning to retire at the conclusion of this past season. His daily preparation for broadcasts and dedication never wavered.

In fact, during the past two seasons, he served as the play-by-play radio voice for every game played by the Braves, including Spring Training games.

While driving back from the Orlando area after a five-week stay during Spring Training last year, Van Wieren encountered a flat tire that obviously delayed his trip home.

Still, after getting back to Atlanta in the early-morning hours, he returned to Turner Field the following night to call an exhibition game with that same enthusiasm that Braves fans were fortunate to hear for 33 years.

10-21-2008, 01:39 PM
I grew up watching the bad Braves on TBS and listening to Skip, Pete and Ernie. Every now and then when Skip and Pete were on together and the game was out of hand, Skip would bald jokes and Pete would tell fat jokes.

10-21-2008, 01:53 PM
I hate to see this but he has more than deserved being able to retire. When I was young I would scan the radio dial listening to different games and announcers. I can remember when he started with the Braves. I had never heard of him but he was always a clear and concise broadcaster. You always knew where the game was and what was going on. He,Skip and Ernie made a great team at TBS and I am very sorry they are all retired(one deceased) now.

10-21-2008, 05:18 PM
I grew up listening to Skip. When the Braves were really bad - the Bob Horner /Dale Murphy days. This is my memories of a kid of him and his dad. RIP