Harry Caray – The Early Years
Harry Christopher Caray (né Carabina) was born in St Louis on the 1st of March 1914 as the son of a Romanian mother and Italian father. Harry’s mother passed away when he was 14 and he had little recollection of his father who left to serve in WWI. He attended Webster Groves High School while living with his aunt & uncle who took him in.
A talented baseball player in his youth, Harry possessed sufficient skill to receive an invitation to play for the University of Alabama directly after high school. Unfortunately, financial woes forced him to turn down the offer. At the time WWII affected the lives of people across the world, Harry applied to enlist in the Armed Forces but was ultimately rejected due to poor eyesight. After being denied the possibility of both a baseball and military career he switched to selling gym equipment while looking for alternative avenues to continue pursuing his passion for baseball.
Harry spent several years learning the basics of his future craft at radio stations in Kalamazoo, Michigan as well as Joliet, Illinois. Bob Holt, the station manager at WCLS Joliet suggested Harry should consider changing his surname from Carabina to Caray. Mostly because Holt believed the Carabina family name sounded awkward on the radio.
By the time he retired Harry was one of the great legends of baseball. Over the course of his lifetime, he became ingrained as part of the baseball consciousness throughout America. It is highly doubtful baseball fans will ever have the luck to grow up listening to an expert, accurate game commentary, and often controversial opinions of a living legend of the game. The accomplishment did not come easy for Harry.