SI Vault
March 02, 1998
Harry Caray (?-1998)The Party's Over
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March 02, 1998


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No. 1 teams that won national titles (Kentucky 1978, North Carolina '82, Duke '92, UCLA '95)


No. 1 teams that reached Final Four



No. 1 teams ousted by third round



National champs that were ranked 2nd


National champs ranked 3rd, 4th or 5th


National champs not in Top 5


Unranked national champs (Villanova 1985, Kansas '88)


Harry Caray (?-1998)
The Party's Over

The time was five o'clock in the morning. The bars had closed in Chicago. There was no more beer. This seemed to be a great injustice.

The two sportswriters from Boston and New York—O.K., I was the one from Boston-stepped onto Rush Street, resigned to their fate, ready for the sad walk back to their hotel. A small miracle occurred. Harry Caray appeared.

Caray, the longtime Chicago Cubs announcer and Windy City baseball institution who died last week at age 77 (or something reasonably close to it; Harry was always coy about his age), was surrounded by a group of 15, maybe 20 people who were acolytes, fans, hangers-on, bystanders. He moved down the street as if he were the Pope on a late-night mission to save late-night souls. He talked in that loud and emphatic way of his, and the acolytes talked back. There was a glow around the entire group.

"Harry," said the New York sportswriter, "is there any place where we can get another beer?"

"No problem," Harry boomed. "Follow me."

We became part of the group. People joined. People left. We were Harry's happy late-night congregation. Cabdrivers honked their horns at Harry, at us. People waved and shouted. Harry shouted back. We arrived at a bar on Rush, a few blocks from where we started. Harry rapped on the window. The place was obviously closed: waiters and waitresses mopping the floor, stools on top of the bar. The owner came to the window to see the source of the rapping. His face lit up like a Budweiser sign.

"Howyadoin'!" Harry shouted through the plate glass. "Any chance of getting a beer here?"

The owner's smile grew larger. He hurried with the locks. He motioned for a waitress to take some stools off the bar. He opened the door as if this were his first day of business. Harry pushed the two sportswriters inside.

Have a good time," Harry said. "See you tomorrow." And he left. With the acolytes. With the fans. With the excitement.

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