Brennaman remembers Skip Caray
Longtime Reds announcer reflects on one of the best
CINCINNATI -- Marty Brennaman knew his friend Skip Caray had been ill, but Caray's death on Sunday night caught Brennaman off guard.
"It's a sad thing," he said Monday. "I mean, 68 years old would be viewed by some people as being old. But to me, that's young.
"It's a tremendous loss to the city of Atlanta and to the Atlanta Braves. I mean, he loved the Atlanta Braves; he loved being on the job. He worked right up until he passed away."
Brennaman said he called Caray's son, Chip, also a respected broadcaster, immediately. The two men didn't connect until earlier in the day on Monday. But they talked at length about a man that set a standard for broadcasting baseball that few will ever equal.
That was a feat in itself, since Skip Caray carried the genes of a broadcaster legend. He was the son of Harry Caray.
"He was smart enough to distance himself from his dad," said Brennaman, the longtime baseball voice of the Reds. "He and his dad were close. I mean, but Skip made as much of a mark for himself in Atlanta as Harry made for himself in Chicago -- and before that in St. Louis.
"I think Skip was smart enough to realize if he was going to create a career for himself -- and a successful career -- that's the route that he had to go, and he did it."
Brennaman described Skip Caray as a close friend. He also described him as a baseball broadcaster who treated his audience to a special brand of baseball insight.
Skip Caray: 1939-2008
Skip Caray, he said, was witty, self-deprecating and humorous.
"He could turn a phrase at the drop of a hat that would be applicable to something that was going on on the field or something that happened elsewhere in baseball or to some individual," Brennaman said. "He could stick a verbal barb into someone with the best of 'em.
"But at the same time, he could do it to himself, and I think that was one of the things that created the kind of appeal that he had and the kind of following that he had in Atlanta."
Yet Skip Caray was more than just a baseball broadcaster. Caray's golden voice called NBA games for years in Atlanta and St. Louis.
"He was really good," Brennaman said. "Like I said, there's a generation that doesn't even know this. All they know is Skip Caray the baseball announcer; they don't know Skip Caray the basketball announcer."
Caray's passing saddened Brennaman, who knew his friend had almost succumbed to his physical ails last November. But Caray fought the good fight. He fought it as long as he could.
He left behind plenty to remember. He left a void in the baseball booth that won't be easily filled. He was a broadcasting legend, just as his father was.
"Nobody can be as big as Harry -- nobody can," Brennaman said. "But given the fact that he was Harry's son, Skip forged for himself a tremendous career."
Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.