I’m already on record with the not-so-patented CSTB two thumbs down for former Cubs/currrent Astros radio voice Milo Hamilton. That said, the hapless homer redeems himself somewhat with his forthcoming trashing of Harry Caray. From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Ron “I’m Not” Rappaport.
In Making Airwaves: 60 Years at Milo’s Microphone ($24.95, Sports Publishing L.L.C.), co-authored by Dan Schlossberg and former Cubs public-relations director Bob Ibach, Hamilton describes the revered Caray as a vain and treacherous man who made Hamilton’s life miserable while making a mission of running him out of Chicago.
”’Well, kid, if I were you, I’d leave town,”’ Hamilton, who has been the Astros’ broadcaster for the last 22 years, says Caray told him when they met shortly after Caray left the White Sox for the Cubs. ”So much for ‘How’s the family?’ and other pleasantries.
”He rode managers. He rode players. It didn’t matter. He treated everyone the same way,” Hamilton writes. ”In short, he was a miserable human being.’
Hamilton’s relationship with Caray and Tribune Broadcast President Jim Dowdle reached its low point at the start of the 1982 season when he was hospitalized with a recurrence of leukemia. Dowdle visited him at Northwestern Memorial, ”almost as if he was dropping in to see if I was really that ill, if perhaps I was faking it,” Hamilton writes. ”I could sense that from his body language. Can you imagine anyone being that inconsiderate?”
Caray’s response to his illness, Hamilton says, was to say on the air that he never had missed any games and he ”couldn’t understand how a guy can take time off during the season.” Later, he boasted to a reporter that he never had missed an inning in his career, ”unlike some other broadcasters I know.”
”You can imagine the temptation for me later on, when that sonofabitch suffered a stroke in 1987, to say something bad about him,” Hamilton writes. ”But I didn’t. It’s not in my nature.
Hamilton says he was ”stunned and saddened” when he learned of the Caray statue, which he says was Dowdle’s idea. ”The first statue put up outside Wrigley Field should have been for Ernie Banks,” he writes. “That’s a given.”