When baseball fans recall their fondest memories of the sport - a walk-off home run, a pitcher's perfect game, a clinched World Series - the soundtracks in their heads often are the voices of favorite announcers calling the action. For New York Yankees fans, it's most likely Mel Allen. Detroit Tigers fans had Ernie Harwell.
The Atlanta Braves had just such a classic, distinctive broadcast voice in Skip Caray - a voice, sadly, that has fallen silent. The son of legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray died in his sleep Sunday at age 68.
Since 1976, he and sidekick Pete Van Wieren guided radio listeners, and later TV viewers, through the ups and downs of the baseball club that has come to be known as "America's Team." Caray's sarcastic wit played perfectly off of Van Wieren's straight analysis.
Caray was knocked often for being too pro-Braves during his broadcasts, but so what? Would a Georgia football game be just as enjoyable if Larry Munson stayed objective and detached? Caray's "homer" attitude, coupled with his sense of humor, has entertained untold numbers of baseball fans, and he is a beloved part of the Braves family.
So when you remember Sid Bream's home-plate slide in the 1992 National League Championship Series, or the final out of the 1995 World Series, it will be Skip Caray's lively baritone replaying in your mind. He will be in our hearts as well.