Monday, September 2, 2013

Harry Caray: A One, A Two, A Three


Harry Caray: A One, A Two, A Three, 1999
Omri Amrany and Lou Cella
Wrigley Field
1060 West Addison Street

          Commissioned by the Chicago Cubs, this nickel bronze statue on black granite base features the “Voice of the Chicago Cubs,” announcer Harry Caray, wearing his trademark thick black glasses and holding out the WGN Radio microphone as if leading the crowd in a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Caray called Cubs games from 1982 until his death in 1998 and this work was dedicated on April 12, 1999. Artist Omri Amrany was also responsible (with wife and business partner Julie Rotblatt-Amrany) for the Michael Jordan statue at the United Center and, on this project, he worked with Lou Cella, who joined the Rotblatt-Amrany Fine Art Studios in 1995. The crowd of fans rising up below Caray is similar to the abstracted opponents featured below the soaring Jordan, but is less successful in this instance, appearing to emerge from Caray’s pant legs in a ghostly swirl.
            Although originally placed at the corner of Addison and Sheffield, the work has been the focus of pranks and it was moved in 2010 to a less heavily-traveled area (Sheffield and Waveland). It now greets the fans entering on the bleachers side of “The Friendly Confines.”
            On two separate occasions, goat carcasses have been hung from the statue. This gesture relates to the “Curse of the Billy Goat” tale that surrounds the Cubs’ franchise. The story started with the 1945 World Series, when the Cubs were facing the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field. According to one version, a Greek immigrant and tavern owner named William “Billy Goat” Sianis bought a ticket for himself and his pet goat to watch Game 4 at Wrigley Field but they were turned away by management. Subsequently, he placed a curse on the Cubs to prevent them from hosting another World Series game at Wrigley Field unless Mr. Wrigley came to his tavern and apologized. The Cubs have not been in a World Series since 1945 and have not won in a World Series since 1908.

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