Farewell, Skip and Alex

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Over the weekend, which I spent at a campground with no real source of information, two public figures died that I wanted to say something about. They are definitely strange bedfellows, sharing a post like this.

On Sunday, Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn died at the age of 89. I read his book “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” early in my high school career. Only later did I grasp the meaning of the work.

Solzhenitsyn defied the Soviets and was expelled from his homeland as a result. He wrote what needed to be written at a time and in a place where it could have meant he’d disappear and never be seen again.

Skip Caray, Ernie Johnson and Pete Van Wieren

The Braves announcing team in 1977: Skip Caray, Ernie Johnson and Pete Van Wieren

Unlike Solzhenitsyn, Skip Caray wasn’t out to make any political statement. But he meant a great deal to me.

I grew up loving the Atlanta Braves and listening to them on the radio every night when I had to go to bed before the game was over. I was listening in the dark in the late 1970s and early 1980s, just like boys … and my mother, the baseball fan among my parents … had in the 50s and 60s.

The trio of Ernie Johnson, Pete Van Wieren and Skip painted the picture for me. And I’ll never forget it.

A lot of obits and stories about Skip this week point out that he was the son of famous announcer Harry Caray, voice of the Cardinals and Cubs. But I’d been listening to Skip for 6 or 7 years as a kid before I even knew that. As far as I’m concerned, Harry may as well have been father of famous announcer Skip Caray.

Here are what some other folks had to say about Caray:

The Hilton Head Island packet’s David Lauderdale

The Tifton Gazette’s Steve Carter

The AJC’s Furman Bisher

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman

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