Longtime broadcaster Chip Caray is taking over as the television play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, more than five decades after his grandfather and Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray became a baseball staple with the same club.
Bally Sports Midwest announced Caray's hiring in a statement Monday. The voice of the Atlanta Braves is replacing Dan McLaughlin, who left the Cardinals' booth in December after 24 years following his third arrest for drunken driving.
"I'm grateful and excited to come home and call games for the team that made me fall in love with baseball as a kid in St. Louis County," Caray said in the statement. "I have always admired the passion, knowledge and loyalty of Cardinals fans, both here in St. Louis and across the country. The honor of continuing the legacy of my grandfather Harry, my dad Skip and so many other great Cardinal broadcasters, past and present, is the stuff dreams are made of."
The third generation of Carays to broadcast in the major leagues spent the past 20 seasons as the voice of the Braves on Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, TBS and Peachtree TV. He also called games regionally for the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs, where his grandfather spent the final 16 years of his career.
Harry Caray got his break in broadcasting with the Cardinals, though, beginning alongside former catcher Gabby Street in 1945. He held down the job alongside such luminaries as Joe Garagiola and Jack Buck through the 1969 season, then went on to spend a season with the A's before a decade with the White Sox and the rest of his career with the Cubs.
Chip Caray's father, Skip, was part of the Braves' broadcast team from 1976 until his death in 2008. And Chip's brother, Josh Caray, is the play-by-play voice of the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.
"The Cardinals are pleased to share in today's announcement," Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III said. "Chip brings a wealth of experience to the booth and has a great feel for the history and tradition of the franchise."
McLaughlin, who is scheduled to appear in court next week, was charged on Dec. 5 as a persistent offender of driving while intoxicated after his arrest in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur. He pleaded guilty to DWI charges in 2010, when he was sentenced to two years of probation, and in 2011, when he was given a suspended 90-day sentence.
McLaughlin and Bally Sports Midwest issued joint statements in December saying that he was stepping away. McLaughlin also said he was planning to focus on his family and his recovery, which he said had already started.
His departure after more than two decades gave Caray a chance to return to his roots. The 57-year-old, who also spent six years as the TV voice of the Cubs, attended high school in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield before heading to Georgia for college. Earlier in his career, he also worked for the NBA's Orlando Magic and the Mariners.
"There is an illustrious history of Cardinals broadcasters and we are excited to add to that incredible roster by bringing in one of the best play-by-play announcers in baseball today," Bally Sports Midwest general manager Jack Donovan said. "Chip brings enthusiasm to the game and cherishes the opportunity to be part of Cardinals baseball."