Thursday may be the Chicago White Sox home opener, but Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of when Harry Caray began his legendary run in Chicago as their announcer.
DOLORES GOLDMAN: Oh, yes.
JOHN GARCIA: It's a stroll down memory lane every time Dutchie Caray walks through the restaurant that bears the name of her late husband. There were pictures of Harry Caray posing with celebrities everywhere from the time he started doing baseball in Chicago, the start of a legendary run in Chicago that began on this date 50 years ago with the White Sox.
DOLORES GOLDMAN: People loved him. I couldn't understand why.
JOHN GARCIA: It was during the heyday of Caray's legendary drinking and nightlife. Business partner, Grant DePorter, has Harry's diary which kept track of bars he visited every night. In 1971, the year end total was over 1,300. And there's a pile of canceled checks for thousands of dollars he spent buying rounds of drinks.
GRANT DEPORTER: Harry and I figured out that he had consumed 300,000 alcoholic drinks in his lifetime. But I think the 1970s when he was the White Sox was his peak drinking time.
JOHN GARCIA: In the meantime, Caray's oversized personality was helping draw hundreds of thousands of fans to Comiskey Park, even though the teams were less than memorable. This is where he first started singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" during the seventh inning stretch.
- Harry he was iconic and remains iconic to this day.
JOHN GARCIA: While her husband was out every night, Dutchie Caray stayed out of the limelight. And it worked for them. They remained married until Harry's death in 1998.
DOLORES GOLDMAN: I did not want to marry him at all. I really avoided it for a long, long, long time.
JOHN GARCIA: How did he convince you?
DOLORES GOLDMAN: Well, let's see. I think champagne.
JOHN GARCIA: Harry Caray left the White Sox to go work across town for the Cubs long before the current Sox ballpark was built. But he did inspire generations of fans to the ballpark, many of whom will be on hand for the Sox home opener tomorrow. At Guaranteed Rate Field, John Garcia, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.