Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray considered himself a man of the people, so he frequented bars instead of doing his drinking at home. It was fun, but it also was work: In the 1970s, Caray had incentives in his contract with the Chicago White Sox tied to attendance, so part of his partying was drumming up business to get folks to come out to Comiskey Park or watch on TV.
As columnist Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times notes, Caray became very wealthy under this arrangement, but 1972 was early in his time with the White Sox and he was still keeping receipts of every "three-martini lunch" — no matter what time of day lunch was. How do we know? In an astounding revelation, Caray also kept a diary of his bar visits with copies of receipts tucked inside. Every saloon he walked into, every drink he paid for, every personality he partied with. All on paper.
Pathological, perhaps. But pathology at its most fun.
Steinberg writes that Grant DePorter, who runs Caray's restaurants in Chicago, inherited the '72 diary and other items like it, along with other memorabilia that the executor of Caray's estate discovered after Caray died in 1998. DePorter loaned Steinberg the "Day Book," and it contains many wonders. Parties with sportswriters, sports personalities and others such as Wilt Chamberlain, Don Drysdale, Joe Pepitone, Jack Benny and Jack Dempsey. And this is just '72, as Steinberg writes:
Toward the end of the diary, on Dec. 24, comes the kicker. After spending at least 354 of the previous 357 days in bars (DePorter counted 61 different tap houses) Caray writes, in a bold hand, “Vacation in Acapulco. Then “Vacation” every day until the year runs out.
Holy cow, that's a lot of booze. Steinberg wondered if that's how current Sox broadcast icon, Hawk Harrelson, spends his nights. Hawkeroo did not offer a comment, Steinberg reports.
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