Skip Caray, the long-time announcer for the Atlanta Braves, is gone.

I obviously didn’t know him, but his death hurts because he is so wrapped up in my memories of baseball. Skip was the voice of my childhood summer evenings. My family moved to Atlanta in 1977, just after he started. As I became tuned into baseball, Skip was the voice that brought me in. I can close my eyes and return to my basement watching late-night west coast games with my friend on a hazy 13″ TV while Skip would go about his business with enthusiasm and humor. It wasn’t until I moved away — and hear other broadcasters — that I realized just how good Skip was. Whether he was screaming “Braves Win!” during the stunning 1992 NLCS or noting that a foul ball was caught by a fan from Cairo, Georgia, he was always the voice I wanted to hear. When I could, I would turn off the TV volume and listen to WSB. My first year of grad school, when the Braves won the World Series, I volunteered for extra nights of telescope lab. Why? Because on the Math-Astronomy Building roof, my walkman could pick up the faint signal of the Braves’ broadcast 500 miles away. And it seemed that they only won when I could hear Skip.

In recent years, his health was fading badly and the corporate morons were slowly moving him out. They once had a formula — 162 games a year on TBS with Skip. And that formula brought them 15 division titles, five pennants and a championship. I relate the decline of the Braves’ Dynasty to the slow departure from that winning formula. And it’s almost fitting that his death corresponds with what appears to be their worst season in 18 years.

Happy trails, Skip. Here’s a fan from New Braunfels, TX who wishes he could catch one last call.

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