Dead and gone. The legend lives on.
Who cares? The late, great Cubs announcer Harry Caray, who died 25 years ago, is at bat again!
Since word of a hep-hep, ho-ho campaign to “reelect” Caray the “Mayor of Rush Street” surfaced weeks ago to honor the legendary tippler, heavy hitters are dialing into the Harry hoopla.
- Back shot: In August, 1980, a big push by Rush Street bar barons to elect the ineffable Harry Caray the “Mayor of Rush Street” was “endorsed” by Mayor Jane Byrne, who added the clever caveat:
“But, Harry, I AM the mayor of the REST of the city!”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, former Mayor (now U.S. ambassador to Japan) Rahm Emanuel, and former Mayor Richard M. Daley have hopped aboard the Caray bandwagon.
Oopah! Sneed is also told mayoral candidate Paul Vallas paused for a pix with Harry Caray’s restaurant statue on Kinzie Street last month before he made the mayoral runoff.
“When I told him about all of Harry’s major “endorsements,” Vallas joked he was glad he wasn’t running against Harry,” said PR guru Grant DePorter, who manages the Harry Caray restaurant chain.
“Vallas then jokingly declared he was endorsing Harry for “Mayor of Rush Street” as well,” added DePorter, a sports memorabilia collector who also successfully bid on the legendary Bartman Ball at auction and blew it up to stave off future bad Cubs juju.
Just recently, Hillary Clinton, a Cubs fan who grew up in Park Ridge, joined the Caray re-election parade.
- Back shot: In 1994, the Cubs invited first lady Hillary Clinton to Wrigley Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“Then Hillary asked Harry if she could sing with him during the game, which resulted in a big kiss from Harry, who later gave her a Cubs beanie baby at her 50th birthday party in Chicago,” he added.
Just to be clear, Harry has re-election opponents, who are infamous Chicago rascals of unquenchable thirst: “Captain Streeter,’ the original self-named Mayor of Streeterville; Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson, a buddy of Al Capone; and Ald. John “Bathhouse” Coughlin, whose name describes his liquid requirement.
Harry’s “re-election” will take place Wednesday at Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier and set amid the 25th annual Worldwide Toast engineered by DePorter to honor the annual anniversary of Carays’ death.
Will actor Jim Belushi, a huge Harry fan who now lives in Chicago, show up in person Wednesday to celebrate Harry’s win?
Will Chicago bred Cubbie fan Bill Murray also make an entry into Caray land?
Will former Gov. Pat Quinn show up to spend time with Harry’s widow, Dutchie, who was a close friend of his late mother?
Is Sneed smoking posies?
The power maven…
Consider: Cook County Board President Toni “The Tiger” Preckwinkle, the power behind Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s selection and election — who is now steering the mayoral campaign of Brandon Johnson … could ostensibly become the most powerful woman in the state of Illinois if Johnson is elected.
The royal snaps…
Pick your click: Brit newspaper photographer Arthur Edwards, who has covered the royal family for The Sun newspaper (and sidekick of my late friend, legendary Royal watcher James Whitaker), has just published a book of royal family photographs titled “Behind the Crown.”
- The behind shot: Edwards, an ardent admirer of soon-to-be coronated King Charles, now considers the monarch his friend; thinks the king’s eldest son, Prince William, is doing a great job; admires the prince’s wife Kate (nee) Middleton; and you can take it from there.
Once an Englishman, always an Englishman
Ah, the moist urodela!
Slither on! Just when the world seems to be topsy turvy–comes news of the slithery salamander.
It seems up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula hundreds of blue-spotted salamanders are now migrating across a road specifically reserved for them during their annual trek from woods to wetlands.
Skirting Presque Isle Park in Marquette, a roadway bend is now closed to evening traffic until the end of April to ensure the safety of the “moist” lizard-like, slender-bodied, blunt-snouted, short-limbed amphibians.
“Look, but don’t touch,” advised a salamander safety guru after it was discovered cars had been killing 400 salamanders a year.
Please note: This column incorrectly noted Cubs’ Joe Pepitone joined the club in 1971. It was in 1970. … Stories come; stories go: But heroism and critical thinking in the midst of agony weeks ago by Chicago fireman Walter Stewart, who chose to donate the organs of his beloved wife and three children killed in a fire in his home — to save the lives of others — was extraordinary. It’s a story that stays with you. … Saturday birthdays: basketball player Kyle Lowry, 37; actor Sarah Jessica Parker, 58, and singer Elton John, 76. Sunday birthdays… football player Von Miller, 34; actress Keira Knightley, 38, and singer Diana Ross, 79.