06/19/2002 10:51 am ET
Skip Caray remembers Buck
By Skip Caray / Special to MLB.com
I remember when Jack came to join the St. Louis broadcast team with Dad and Joe Garagiola. He adjusted right away, followed Dad's lead and was somewhat of a leader for Joe. I always thought he became an instant success.
It seemed like he took a liking to me right away. There were always people trying to warm up to me because of who my Dad was. Jack wasn't like that. He genuinely liked me and wanted to help me with my broadcasting career.
He was doing play-by-play for St. Louis University basketball games and wanted me to come and do color analysis with him. There was a point that he thought basketball on the radio was boring. So we started taking turns doing the play-by-play. When St. Louis had the ball, Jack was talking and when the opponent had the ball, I was talking.
There was one game in which there was a loose ball after a rebound and neither of us knew who should be talking. There was silence for about 10 seconds and then we both just started laughing. So needless to say, our innovative idea ended there. The 10 or so games that I did with him doing SLU games gave me valuable experience and helped me get where I am today.
A few years later, there were some people with the St. Louis Hawks organization that remembered hearing those broadcasts and gave me the chance to do their games. When they moved to Atlanta, I went with the team and it helped me get the job with the Braves.
I remember another time when I was producing one of Jack's talk shows and I screwed up. But throughout, Jack was ad-libbing, which he could do as well as anyone, and things went smoother than they should have. But it was obvious that I had made a major mistake.
Right after the show ended, Bob Hyland, the vice president of CBS Radio, called me down to his office. Jack said I wasn't going without him. We went in and Jack tried to take all of the blame. I wouldn't let him do that. After a while, Bob told me to get out of the office and Jack said that was probably the best thing Bob had said all day.
Jack was always looking out for my best interests and someone I was proud to have as a friend. In addition, he and Dad formed what I believe was the greatest announcing duo in sports history. They worked so well together. Dad was the voice of the guy sitting in the bleachers with his shirt off and Jack was the emcee for the guy dressed in a dinner jacket.
They worked so well together and played off of each other so smoothly. Their combination formed something like a symphony. It was as pleasant as Pearlman playing the violin.
I remember one time in Spring Training they showed up probably after a good night out together and were still in good spirits. The White Sox had a catcher named Jerry McNertney. When he came up to bat the first time, one of them said his name in a peculiar way and there was laughter throughout the booth.
The next time he came up they couldn't even say his name. So when McNertney came up for his third at-bat, they announced that a new catcher had entered the game. That wasn't the case. McNertney played the entire game.
I always enjoyed seeing Jack when our teams played each other. He always had something that would make you laugh. During the 1998 season, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were chasing history, my son Chip had Jack in his booth to discuss McGwire.
At that time, Jack had just been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was shaking noticeably. So when he started talking, he asked Chip, "What's shaking, besides me?"
That's just the way Jack was. He was able to find humor in his illness. In addition, he was a war veteran and one of the greatest announcers we've ever seen.
More importantly for me, he was a friend and a hero.
As told to Mark Bowman, who covers the Braves for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.