The Time Harry Caray's Fame Saved His Life

Caray sometimes found himself in sticky situations.

McNeil & Parkins Show
March 24, 2020 - 5:45 pm
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(670 The Score) Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray's affinity for late nights out has been well-documented over the years.

It's part of what added to the iconic status of the late Caray, and it went back well before his time with the Cubs and to his time as a Cardinals broadcaster, which ran from 1945-'69.

It was way back when in St. Louis that Caray found himself in a particular sticky situation, as current White Sox television analyst and former Cubs broadcaster Steve Stone remembered while joining the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday afternoon. It was in the wee hours of the morning after bar close at Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis one time that Caray discovered that his car wouldn't start.

So he went back in the bar to make a call.

"He calls up Triple-A (roadside assistance)," Stone said. "He probably should've called up AA, but he called up Triple-A."

Caray then waited outside for the tow truck to arrive, but instead two men got out of a different vehicle. It seemed like they were looking for trouble, as Caray soon thought he was being held up.

"One guy gets out of the car, and he's got a gun," Stone said. "He gets out of the car and walks toward Harry, and he's got the gun pointed at Harry. And Harry puts up his hands. The guy doesn't say anything. And Harry says, 'Don't get excited.' He said, 'I'll give you all the money I have on me. I'll give my watch. I'll give you whatever you want. Just let's make sure that you get what you want and then you leave and everything is OK.'"

The story soon had a twist.

"The guys just stops," Stone said. "The guy doesn't say anything. He just looks at Harry, and all of a sudden the gun starts shaking. Harry goes, 'Don't get excited, we can work this out. I'll give you whatever I have. You can take my ring, you can take whatever I have.' The guys goes, 'Well, you're Harry Caray.' (Caray) says, 'Well, yes I am, but don't worry. We're going to work this out. Everything is going to be fine. I just don't want you to get excited. I don't want any accidents.'

"The guys goes, 'No, you don't understand. You're Harry Caray.' He goes, 'No, I understand.' Harry told me that he then took the gun and put it to the side a little bit -- didn't try to take it out of his hand, just tried to take it to the side because the guy was so nervous, he didn't want it to go off. And so he says, 'This is unbelievable, you're Harry Caray. You don't understand, I grew up listening to you. You're all I know about baseball. You taught me all the baseball I know. You're Harry Caray!'

Caray again responded, "Yes, yes I am" and asked the man to put the gun down. The man complied.

"Oh, don't worry about the gun, Harry," is what man told Caray, according to Stone.

From there, the man started asking Caray what he was up to so late. Caray explained his car didn't start and he was waiting for a tow. The man offered to give him a ride to get gas -- Caray thought his tank may just be on empty -- but Caray declined, instead opting to wait for AAA.

So the men went on their way, but not before the one with the gun offered some advice in his parting words.

"'Harry, you shouldn't be alone in this neighborhood at night,'" he said, as Stone told the story. "'This is a very dangerous neighborhood.' And the guy got in his car and just drove away.

"Those things seemed to happen to Harry all the time."