Baseball announcer Harry Caray, who turned the seventh-inning stretch into one of the game's most rousing summer rituals, died Feb. 18 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., just as his beloved Chicago Cubs were beginning spring training.
Caray, the Cubs' colorful, quirky radio and television play-by-play announcer since 1982, collapsed during a Valentine's Day dinner with his wife, Dutchie, at a California restaurant. Caray had suffered a heart attack, and he died of brain damage caused by the attack, according to a spokesman at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.
Caray had broadcast major league baseball for 53 years, spending the first 25 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Caray was 77 by his own reckoning, although a team spokeswoman said that because he was an orphan, he may have been in his early eighties.
"We're going to miss old Harry," Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial, whom Caray called the best baseball player he had ever seen, told the Associated Press. "He was always the life of the party, the life of baseball."
A Hall of Fame broadcaster, Caray became known for his signature expression "Holy Cow!" along with several other descriptive calls -- "It might be. It could be. It is -- a home run!" and "Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!" among many others.
In recent years, Caray had a national following on WGN-TV, the Chicago superstation that carries the Cubs across the country on cable and satellite television. Never mind that he occasionally mangled the language, slurred some words (a result of a stroke in 1987) and frequently mispronounced or simply forgot players' names. He also had no qualms about telling fans -- and management -- exactly what was wrong with the occasionally not-so-cuddlesome Cubbies.
During the baseball players' strike in 1994 and early 1995, he was particularly strident about the work stoppage, which he vehemently opposed.
"Nobody is right. Both sides are radically wrong," he said in an interview with The Washington Post during spring training in 1995. "You got the owners on one side in the most prosperous era in the history of the game. Hell, they put a For Sale' sign up, and they get a hundred times what they paid for the ballclub. You got the ballplayers making more than they ever dreamed they'd make playing this game, this magnificent game. They used to read the Sporting News. Now it's the Wall Street Journal. But who the hell ever thinks about the fan?"
Most of all, Caray reveled in the joy of standing up in the broadcast booth during the seventh-inning stretch and belting out "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." As the crowd sang along, all eyes at Wrigley Field were riveted on the little old man in the oversize, black-framed glasses with thick lenses.
"Nobody could sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game' like he could," said first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, a lifelong Cubs fan. "And I hope he's doing a seventh-inning rendition in heaven."
Caray told The Post several years ago: "To me, it's always been, What a beautiful day to be at the ballpark.' The happiest scene is the old man drinking a cold beer and trying to keep score, just like his old man before him. His old lady is looking over to see what the players' wives are wearing, and the kids have mustard running down their shirts. We make this into rocket science. Hey, it's a game. What's so difficult about it?"
In recent years, with the woebegone Cubs usually residing at the bottom of the standings, Caray became the most identifiable man connected with the organization. Any time he wandered into the stands, as was his wont, he was besieged by fans just wanting to say hello, shake his hand or get an autograph. He almost never refused.
"He's a people magnet," his longtime Chicago broadcast partner, Steve Stone, told The Post several years ago. "People either love him or hate him, but they never ignore him. It doesn't matter where he goes or who's with him. People just want to see Harry. . . . Harry never wanted to go to sleep, because he was always afraid he'd miss something."
Cubs General Manager Ed Lynch said: "Harry's got the knack of being like John Q. Public, the fan up there in the booth calling the game like any fan would. He doesn't call the game; he talks to the people watching the game. Harry will come up to me and say, When are you gonna get some ballplayers?' and all I can do is laugh."
Caray began his life as Harry Christopher Carabina in St. Louis, and by the time he was 9, both his parents had died. He often spoke about being raised in smoke-filled saloons all around town, and occasionally he lived with an aunt in Webster Grove, Mo., where he frequently skipped school in order to play or watch baseball.
He spent many of his days at old Sportsman's Park, and in 1943, he wrote a letter to the station manager at KMOX wondering why Cardinals games always sounded so dull on the radio. The man eventually helped him get a job at a station in Joliet, Ill., and he later had a brief stint at a station in Kalamazoo, Mich., doing sports with a news editor named Paul Harvey.
In 1945, KMOX hired Caray to do the Cardinals, a dream job for a hometown kid. It lasted for 25 years until he parted company in a dispute with owner August Busch that never was publicly explained. He spent the 1970 season working for Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley before moving to Chicago to do the White Sox broadcasts for 11 years. In 1982, he went across town to the rival Cubs.
Jack Buck, also a member of the announcers' wing of the Hall of Fame, remembered auditioning for the job he got with the Cardinals in 1953. "They sent me a tape of him and said, We want you to be like him,' " Buck said. "But there was no way I could do that. There's only one guy who could broadcast like him."
Caray had not missed an Opening Day for 41 years until he suffered a stroke in 1987 while playing cards with some pals at a Palm Springs, Calif., country club. Many people thought that would end his broadcasting career, but Caray said cards and letters by the hundreds from across the country got him out of bed, into therapy and ultimately back to Wrigley Field on May 19, 1987. President Ronald Reagan telephoned the park to welcome him back.
Asked three years ago if he ever thought about retirement, Caray said: "I want to go as long as my health will allow me. With each passing day, you know the time is getting shorter and shorter. Not only the end of a career, but the end of life is inevitable. I hope I can die with my boots on. That's how I'd like to go. Yeah, that would be nice."
In 1989, Caray received the annual Ford C. Frick Award to honor broadcasters at the induction ceremonies of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. During an emotional five-minute acceptance speech that summer, Caray said that "the more I think of all the history which surrounds me, the more inadequate I feel."
Caray's son Skip, who once described his father as "a mediocre singer but a hell of a broadcaster," also went into the business and has been the longtime voice of the Atlanta Braves and National Basketball Association games. Skip's son Chip also is a sports broadcaster, breaking in as the play-by-play voice of the Orlando Magic in 1989.
Chip Caray had been hired this year to share the booth with his grandfather at Cubs games and said recently he was looking forward to his new job as a chance to spend time "not just with Harry Caray the baseball announcer, but Harry Caray my grandfather."
In addition to his wife, Caray is survived by five children, five stepchildren, 14 grandchildren and a great-grandchild. DOUGLAS F. BODWELL Public Broadcasting Education Director
Douglas F. Bodwell, 55, who as education director at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting helped acquire funding for 22 television series, including Reading Rainbow and others, died of brain cancer Feb. 16 at George Washington University Hospital. He lived in Arlington.
Mr. Bodwell established the education office at CPB in 1974 and was considered an innovator in encouraging stations to try new ways of using programs for teaching. He helped initiate the Public Broadcasting Service's adult college learning service, a computer network for stations and schools called Learning Link, and a satellite consortium. He also helped organize an award-winning literacy project to encourage adults to read.
He directed the Annenberg/CPB Project, which awarded grants and funding for productions such as "The Brain" and "The Constitution," both winners of Peabody Awards and Emmys.
Mr. Bodwell was born in Keene, N.H. He was a graduate of Columbia University and received a law degree from Georgetown University. He was a welfare caseworker in Harlem and a fund-raiser at Columbia University before being named assistant to the president of Fisk University.
He moved to Washington 30 years ago to run the fellowship program of the American Council on Education.
He was named a "cultural laureate in communications" by the state of Virginia. He was a member of the National Commission on Higher Education and the Adult Learner and advisory boards to the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy, Pennsylvania State University, the Mississippi Council on Children and Families and the Arlington County School Board. He was a member of the D.C. Bar Association and the National Press Club.
Survivors include his wife, Decie Rosapepe Bodwell of Arlington; and three children, Samantha Bodwell and Allison Bodwell, both of Arlington, and Jonathan Bodwell of Martinsburg, W.Va. EMORY E. HACKMAN Army Colonel and Physicist
Emory E. Hackman, 86, a retired Army colonel who later taught physics at Georgetown University, died Feb. 11 at Cherrydale Health Center in Arlington of complications related to a broken hip suffered in a Dec. 10 fall at his home.
Col. Hackman was born near Millboro, Va., and grew up in Idaho and Colorado. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1933 and served during the 1930s as an officer in the coast artillery. During World War II, he served in a coast artillery unit in Panama. He received a master's degree in physics from the University of Virginia after the war. Retiring from the Army on disability in 1947, Col. Hackman joined the Physics Department at Georgetown, where he taught for five years. Later, with a brother, he founded a rock lobster business on the north coast of Brazil.
He had been a physicist on the staffs of the National Academy of Sciences and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and then a consultant to the Navy, where he specialized in high explosive blasts and guided missiles.
He had received an Army Commendation Medal and a citation from the secretary of the Navy for contributions to the Navy's missile program.
A longtime resident of Arlington, Col. Hackman was a founder of Arlingtonians for a Better County and president of the Rock Springs Civic Association.
Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Mary Cook Hackman of Arlington; and a son, Emory E. Hackman Jr. of Annandale. CAPTION: HARRY CARAY