Friday, July 27, 2012

Me, Harry, and Milo (the Jerk)

As promised yesterday, here is the story of how I got Harry Caray's autograph... a Cubs game.

This was back in 1982, Harry's first year with the Cubs and their first year under Tribune Company and Dallas Green management. I'm a senior in college, recently engaged. My college was within walking distance of the Lake Street L and trips to Wrigley were pretty easy. I decided it was time to let the future Mrs. WW have the Wrigley experience. I splurged and bought a couple lower deck box seats.

They cost me $6.50 each. Today you would spend $104 for a "marquee" date to sit there. I bought the tickets on the day of the game, so we got to the ballpark early to try to get the best seats possible. Because we were early, we got to catch a bunch of the pre-game activities.

We saw Harry and Cubs skipper Lee #$^%#! Elia.

Coach Billy Williams walked by and I yelled "Hey Billy!" He waved back to me with his bat. I grabbed a quick picture, but it was a blurry.

GM Dallas Green walked right past us on his way up to the press box.

None of the players were signing autographs, but...

....Harry was. I made my way down towards the wall and within a few minutes....


the front of my scorecard was signed. Holy Cow!

I'm about to head back to my seat when I see the other Cubs TV broadcaster Milo Hamilton walk by. No one was asking for his autograph, but I had a thought. Wouldn't it be cool to have Harry and Milo sign the card, side by side?

It was a very naive thought. Here's the back story. Milo came to the Cubs and WGN for the 1980 season as the heir-apparent to Jack Brickhouse. For two years he and Jack shared duties and when Brickhouse retired after the 1981 season, the booth was all Milo's....he thought. The White Sox were going to a pay channel for the '82 season and Harry wanted nothing to do with it. New Sox ownership was also looking to make the Sox more family friendly and letting Harry go would help do that. So Harry goes to the Cubs and says he's available. The Cubs pounced on him immediately. New management understood that Harry would be a much more popular asset than Milo Hamilton. Harry blows in and Milo gets blown off. He becomes the #2 man in the booth and has never tried to hide his bitterness about the demotion and his dislike of Harry Caray.

Back to me at the wall with Milo. As I said, I thought a matched set of autographs would be cool, so as Milo walks by I ask him to sign. He walks over and I then say that Harry has already signed and I pointed to the front of the card. I figured he would also see the connection.


He did. He looked at Harry's signature on the front, had a disgusted look on his face, and then opened the card to the inside. He signed on page 3, by the WGN logo. My matching set of autographs didn't happen. Milo the jerk wouldn't put his signature anywhere near Harry's.

I don't have any memories of the game itself (the Cubs lost to the Cardinals 5-4) My memories focus on getting the autographs of happy Harry and bitter Milo.



  1. I've heard a few Astros fans who have the same sentiment of Milo. Sounds like you're not alone on this one.

  2. Live down here in Houston and I can't stand trying to listen to the Cubs v. Astros games. During the broadcast Milo only does play by play during the Astros at-bats. During the visiting team, he interviews someone or talks about something he did. You never know what is going on until the half inning is over or the Astros perform a great play (with the nauseating wooo-woooo-WOOOO noise he makes). I believe I am a minority down here, but I will be happy we he retires after this year. Milo has his Hank Aaron call. Now go away.

  3. Paul, you were supposed to say that your only lasting memory of the game was sitting next to the future Mrs. Wrigley Wax. If she reads this post, you are on the couch tonight!!!

  4. I am a Cubs fan who was temporarily (for 23 years) exiled to Texas. I was sometimes forced to listen to the Astros broadcast for Cubs/Astros games. I hated it so much because Milo Hamilton took every opportunity to say something nasty about the Cubs. His bitterness wasn't limited to Harry, but was also directed at the team as a whole.