The Atlanta Braves were not the darlings of baseball. Quite the opposite.
Hank Aaron broke the Babe’s record the year before and all eyes were centered on Aaron. The team just so happened to be in the ballpark.
But in 1975, something wonderful happened to the Braves. They hired Skip Caray to broadcast their games.
Last week, Caray, 68, lost his battle to multiple health issues and went home to be with his legendary father, Harry Caray.
When my sports reporter Wes McCard showed me the write-up of Caray’s death in the Macon Telegraph, I was suddenly besieged with heavy sadness.
My mind came in and out of sadness and memories of Caray doing his job. There are those that will say Caray was not the best announcer the Braves had but in my book, he was the top dawg.
Caray always did his job his way. He was not afraid to call it just like it was, Even if it meant stepping on some toes. His wit and humor, albeit sometimes dry, made every game a brand new event.
I think back and remember so many Caray moments but I, like many thousands over, remember Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in 1992.
The Braves had fought and scratched their way into Game 7 against Barry Bonds and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Braves were down two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs and everything on the line, the Braves had a runner at third and slow-footed Sid Bream on second base.
Francisco Cabrera stepped to the plate. The Pirates, with Bonds in left field, were playing Cabrera around to the left, creating some space on the right side. Caray picked up on it.
And the rest is history.
“There is a lot of room on the right side,” said Caray, as best I recall it. “The pitch, a hit to left, ( voice octaves skyrocket) one run in, here comes Bream, Bonds throw to the plate...Safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!
Pure chaos broke out everywhere. I screamed and jumped and danced and made noise, woke up my neighbors, screamed some more, forgot the entire English language except for one word,” Yes..Yes..Yes..Yes.”
All from one man’s base hit and all from one man’s call of the action.
Skip Caray brought that moment home on televisions all across the country. The world knew the Braves advanced to the World Series because of the words of Skip Caray.
Thank you Skip for all of the great memories and for making sense of the world of Braves baseball through the years.
You will be sorely missed.