Will there be another Caray carrying on the family tradition on Cardinals broadcasts?
Sources said Monday that Atlanta Braves broadcaster Chip Caray, grandson of legendary Cards announcer Harry Caray and part of an unparalleled sportscasting family tree, is the leading candidate to replace Dan McLaughlin as the play-by-play broadcaster on Bally Sports Midwest's Cards telecasts. Later in the day there were reports that he will be making the move, but BSM officials would not comment on the matter. Caray could not be reached for comment.
Sources also said another strong contender, Seattle Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith, has withdrawn his name for consideration. Goldsmith, who went to high school at Principia Upper School, in St. Louis County, and college at Principia, in Elsah, Ill., declined comment.
Goldsmith, 39, and Caray, 57, are believed to have interviewed for the position.
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The person hired will work for Bally Sports Midwest, and officials there have not made comments about candidates in the search to replace McLaughlin — who left by "mutual decision" last month following his third drunken-driving arrest in a little more than a dozen years. This one carried a felony charge.
Caray is a longtime announcer on Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast telecasts of the Braves and also has had high-profile stints broadcasting the Chicago Cubs and baseball in general for Fox as well as Turner Sports. He is the son of Skip Caray, who worked in St. Louis at KMOX (1120 AM) for which his duties included broadcasting games of the NBA's Hawks. He went with them when they moved to Atlanta in 1968 and became a popular figure there and also nationally when he added calling Braves contests to his resumé. That was when TBS was televising their games across the country on cable.
Chip Caray, like his dad and grandfather, grew up in St. Louis. He was born in 1965 and moved with his family to Atlanta in ’68. His parents divorced a short time later, then his mother moved back to St. Louis with Chip and a sister. Chip graduated from Parkway West High in 1983.
He also spent some summers as a teenager in Atlanta with his dad, and after high school enrolled at the University of Georgia for two reasons — it had a good journalism program and he also wanted to grow closer to his father.
"My sister and I didn't get to spend much time with him, because at the time he was working 12 months a year doing basketball and baseball," Chip once told the Post-Dispatch. "It was important for me to get to know my dad."
Harry Caray, who called Cardinals games from 1945-69, died in 1998. Skip Caray passed away in 2008.
Chip was proud of his grandfather, who after his Cardinals days became a legend in Chicago — and nationwide — with his everyman's approach to broadcasting Cubs games on WGN. Those telecasts were seen across the country on cable, and Chip was glad to build a bond with him in the elder's latter years after having had a distant relationship with him earlier. They had been scheduled to work together for about 50 games in 1998.
"Holy Cow! What a Christmas present!" Harry Caray said when the plan was announced, adding that he had two wishes before he died — to have another martini and to work with his grandson.
Chip, who turns 58 next month, was equally ecstatic.
"It's a dream job, one of the two or three best jobs in sports," he said of joining the Cubs' crews and working with his grandpa. "Hopefully I'm there for the next 20 years, and my grandfather is there with me."
But Harry died shortly before that season began.
“I didn’t really spend a lot of time with my grandfather — or my dad for that matter,’’ Chip said on an MLB Network feature on the remarkable career of his grandfather that aired in 2016. “And growing up in the suburbs in St. Louis, I’d rush home from school try to catch the seventh inning stretch to see who this crazy old man was with the glasses” singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Chip Caray has called Braves games for the last 18 seasons and he and his wife, Susan, have twin sons who also are entering the business. Chris and Stefan Caray were announcers last season for the Amarillo (Texas) Sod Poodles, the Arizona Diamondbacks' Double-A affiliate, making it four generations of Carays to do play-by-play of professional baseball. They are expected to return this year.