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Harry Caray Returning for 54th Year

December 18, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ It’s a family affair. Harry Caray is returning for a 54th season in the broadcast booth _ and he’ll be joined by his grandson.

``Holy Cow! What a Christmas present!″ Caray said of his upcoming on-air partnership with Chip Caray on Chicago Cubs television broadcasts.

Caray is returning for a 17th season as Cubs play-by-play announcer on WGN-TV, a cable superstation. He will work home games with grandson Chip and analyst Steve Stone. Stone and Josh Lewin will handle the road games.

Chip Caray has been the play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Mariners and has served the past two seasons as studio host for weekly baseball games on the Fox TV network. He also handles television play-by-play for the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

``It’s a dream job, one of the two or three best jobs in sports,″ Chip Caray said of his new assignment. ``Hopefully I’m there for the next 20 years, and my grandfather is there with me.″

WGN, which like the Cubs is owned by Tribune Co., refused to disclose terms of the deal, including the length of the contract.

Chip Caray turned down a similar offer two years ago because it would not have allowed him to continue working on Fox. The station changed its mind, he said.

``It’s a perfect fit,″ WGN-TV station manager Jim Zerwekh said. ``They certainly know each other’s styles very well. I think it was a unique opportunity to incorporate the two of them together.″

Caray wasn’t involved in negotiations between the station and his grandson, ``but I didn’t think he’d have a problem with it,″ Zerwekh said.

Caray says he has no plans to leave the booth anytime soon, but he admits the station probably had a successor in mind when they hired his grandson.

``That’s what I think too, but thinking about it doesn’t make it so,″ Caray said. ``They (his bosses) have said to me that as long as I want to do this, it’s yours. What would I do without it? I’d go crazy.″

One of his trademarks is singing ``Take Me Out to the Ballgame″ during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field.

But he says he doesn’t plan any duets with his grandson _ at least not yet. ``I’m thinking of breaking him in gently,″ Caray said. ``It’s probably the only song around I know the words to. I’m going to hang onto that for a while.″