Fun And Family
Caray was known for more than his broadcasting. He was also known for his drinking and socializing after hours. He was dubbed "the mayor of Rush Street" due to his partying nature. He even opened his own restaurant in 1987, aptly named Harry Caray's. But his carefree nature caught up with him, when in that same year he had a stroke. The stroke took him "out of the game" for several months. It was the first time he had missed an opening game in decades. The Cubs brought in big name celebrities to fill the gap while he was gone, but there was no replacing Caray. When Caray came back to work on May 19, 1987, the mayor announced it to be Harry Caray Day. Caray even received a call from President Ronald Reagan, who expressed how much he missed his broadcasts.
In 1991 he was fortunate enough to broadcast a game with his son, Skip, and grandson, Chip. It was the Cubs against the Braves. Skip was an announcer for the Atlanta Braves and Chip was working with Fox Sports Net. Caray and Chip were to broadcast together again in the 1998 Cubs season. Unfortunately, just six short weeks before their partnership was to begin, Caray passed away.
Caray suffered a heart attack on February 14, 1998, while dining with his wife, Dutchie. He collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. The incident caused brain damage and he was put on life support, but four days later was taken off life support and died on February 18, 1998.
Caray had touched many lives over his career, and thousands mourned his passing. Ned Colletti stated, "The city of Chicago lost an icon. There are thousands of announcers, but only one Harry," in an interview with Rod Beaton of USA Today. "Cubs baseball will never be the same," stated Marty Brennaman in the same interview. Mike Littwin of the Rocky Mountain News was shocked by Caray's death and stated, "How can Harry Caray be dead if he was bigger than life?" Beaton was equally shocked. He admired Caray and remembered, "Caray made people feel good about themselves, about baseball, even about the often hapless Cubs." When asked by Beaton, Cubs general manager Ed Lynch said, "He's one of the biggest personalities in baseball in the last 100 years."