'Stars in the making': Twins maintain family legacy
It might seem like Chris and Stefan Caray knew their career paths from the time they spoke their first words. Their father is a baseball broadcaster. Their uncle is a baseball broadcaster. Their grandfather was a baseball broadcaster. And their great-grandfather, as far as Cubs and some Cardinals fans are
It might seem like Chris and Stefan Caray knew their career paths from the time they spoke their first words.
Their father is a baseball broadcaster. Their uncle is a baseball broadcaster. Their grandfather was a baseball broadcaster. And their great-grandfather, as far as Cubs and some Cardinals fans are concerned, was the baseball broadcaster.
But for the identical twin brothers, who just wrapped up their first season as the broadcast team for Double-A Amarillo, stepping into the booth together in pro ball was an unexpected opportunity, not an inevitability.
“It’s been incredible, and I hope it lasts a really long time,” Chris Caray said of his partnership with his brother. “But however long it lasts, I’m going to enjoy every second of it. There aren’t enough words to describe how I feel when I see him work.”
The great-grandchildren of legendary Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray and sons of Braves broadcaster Chip Caray, Chris and Stefan are not quite a year out from a chance meeting with Sod Poodles president and general manager Tony Ensor at Game 5 of the World Series in Atlanta, and about six months out from a sudden job opening that changed everything. When Ensor got in touch in early spring about the two of them coming aboard to replace 2021 Ballpark Digest MiLB Broadcaster of the Year Sam Levitt, who moved onto the Padres’ booth, they knew they had an opportunity beyond the scope of their experience.
They’d spent last summer broadcasting in the Cape Cod League, and Chris, especially, had dedicated himself to the craft since high school. But Chris had lined up a job in the Carolina League. And Stefan wasn’t sure what he was going to do after their senior year at the University of Georgia.
“To come into it at 22 years old, straight out of college, it’s something that’s remarkable,” Chris said. “It’s something that’s made us really thank our lucky stars and Tony Ensor and the community of Amarillo for making us welcome, especially after they had somebody as talented as Sam Levitt.”
Stefan, who’d directed most of his energy toward excelling on the lacrosse field [in] college, was never as sure about taking up the family trade as Chris had been. He said it took a while before the pair found their footing.
“The beginning for us was difficult because we came under a lot of scrutiny and a lot of fire for just for accepting a job that anybody else would have accepted,” Stefan Caray said. “We were discouraged … We felt like our last name was going to be cause for people to light a fire and be angry. Tweets came out, like, ‘They don’t deserve that job.’ ‘They’re going to fail,’ or ‘They deserve to fail.’
“I said [to media] that there’s nothing worse than somebody who gets this job and says they did it all for themselves. We understand that there’s another factor. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have to go out and execute.”
Another Caray broadcaster -- Josh Caray of Double-A Rocket City, uncle to Chris and Stefan -- has helped the fourth generation learn the ropes, and the brothers talk to their father about building positive relationships with fans and people in the sports industry and how they can make a difference in the Amarillo community.
But in terms of developing as broadcasters? The Caray twins are sorting that out for themselves.
“[Chip’s] dad always told him, ‘The world doesn’t need another Skip Caray. It needs a Chip Caray,’” Chris said. “He passes that along to us: ‘Be Stefan. Be Chris.’ He always tells us to just go do the games. And if you make mistakes, it’s part of your process.”
As the brothers grew more comfortable, their broadcasts became distinctly their own, and their chemistry -- long-fostered and uncommonly genuine for obvious reasons -- imbued their work with another layer of fun. Whereas a temptation to compare their broadcasts to their predecessors’ might otherwise arise, the twins’ interplay makes their games unique.
“We have a connection that a lot of other people won’t ever understand, because we’ve spent almost every waking moment together,” Chris said. “On and off the air, that creates a really interesting relationship, and we come by it honestly.”
They’ve already earned praise from an all-time great -- one outside the family. A Tigers scout was awestruck by the quality of the Sod Poodles’ broadcast when he came to town. He then went to San Francisco and showed clips of the Caray twins to Giants broadcaster Jon Miller.
“From the horse’s mouth,” the scout relayed, “’Stars in the making!’"
“To be able to do that on our own,” Stefan said, “and have somebody who’s not named Skip Caray or Chip Caray or Josh Caray want to share our tape, that was a good feeling.”
As for the most famous Caray, the Midwest legend has not been at the forefront of the twins’ lives. They grew up in Florida, after their great-grandfather had died, and out of the orbit of Cubs and Cardinals territory.
“I’ve gained more of a sense of what he meant to people in the last four or five months than I have in the entire rest of my life,” Chris said. “People come up to us all the time and say, ‘I loved your great-grandfather,’ or, ‘Your great-grandfather was the voice of my childhood.’
“They see us as a connection to him, which is strange because we haven’t earned it yet. The real connection I have is with my dad, and with my brother. I’m Chip Caray’s son, and I’m Stefan Caray’s brother. And I’m happy to be.”
Josh Jackson is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @JoshJacksonMiLB.