Buck, Caray to reunite for legendary broadcast

May 24th, 2024

This story was excerpted from John Denton’s Cardinals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

When discussing a potential opportunity to return to baseball for a night and broadcast a Cardinals game alongside close friend Chip Caray, Joe Buck first chuckled at the significance and frivolity such a moment would bring, but then he stressed that it would happen only under the right set of circumstances.

What better circumstance for a Caray-Buck reunion, Bally Sports Midwest thought, than the first meeting of the 2024 season between the Cardinals and the rival Cubs at Busch Stadium?

For the first time since 1969, when Joe’s legendary father, Jack, and Chip’s legendary grandfather, Harry, formed one of the most iconic broadcast teams in all of baseball, a Buck-Caray team will work a Cardinals game together again. Joe and Chip, two of the best baseball broadcasters of their generation, will call the Cubs-Cards game for Bally Sports Midwest on Friday.

Jack and Harry called games together from 1954-59 and '61-69, and they turned millions of baseball lovers into Cards fans via KMOX radio airwaves that stretched hundreds of miles away from St. Louis. Fans as far away as Washington, D.C., and even in parts of Colorado could listen to Jack and Harry call Cardinals games decades ago.

Chip, 59, and Joe, 54, have always been linked because of their Hall of Fame forefathers. Both grew up in St. Louis, and despite all their national success, they found their way back to the Gateway City to live full time. Outside the booth where they will call their first game together next week, there are pictures of Jack and Harry, icons of their profession.

Quick-witted and always one to playfully to turn a phrase, Chip borrowed one of his grandfather’s most famous catchphrases to sum up his excitement about finally getting a chance to work a game with Buck.

“Holy cow, this should be fun,” Caray said in a Bally Sports release. “I’ve known Joe since our days together in the early days with FOX. I grew up listening to his dad, and my kids have grown up listening to him. I’m really looking forward to a night of laughs, stories, and great memories of the guys who made us possible.”

For Joe, a native of suburban St. Louis and someone who still lives a short drive away from Busch Stadium and near the shadows of the Gateway Arch, it will be a return to baseball for the first time since 2022. That’s when he departed from FOX Sports to become the voice of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” and left behind the sport that shaped much of his evolution as a broadcaster. After starting out on the Cardinals Radio Network, Joe worked for 16 years alongside his Hall of Fame father and Mike Shannon while calling Cards games. He then went national, where he was the youngest lead play-by-play announcer in baseball history and someone who called 24 World Series, including Cardinals wins in '06 and '11.

Joe’s iconic call following David Freese’s homer to end Game 6 of the 2011 World Series -- “We will see you … tomorrow night!” -- still evokes chills and was quite possibly the best son-to-father tribute in the sport’s history. After all, it was Jack who famously said those same words after a Kirby Puckett homer forced a Game 7 between the Twins and the Braves in 1991.

When I spoke with Buck in January, I asked him just how much he missed baseball and if he might be interested in a return -- even if for just one night of Cardinals action.

“I mean, I watch [baseball] religiously,” said Buck, a finalist for the 2024 Ford C. Frick Award. “I don’t miss doing it as much as I thought I would, because I feel like I’ve put my body of work together and I’m proud of it. But yeah, when you see a Game 7 in the playoffs and the first pitch flies through the air, it's like, ‘Argh, I wish I was doing that!’ But it takes a lot of work just to get a Game 7, so I'm happy being here in my home in St. Louis watching it instead of doing it.”

When Chip was named the lead play-by-play voice for Bally Sports in 2023, one of the first congratulatory calls he got was from Buck. One of the best parts of being home for baseball season, Buck said, was getting to listen to Chip’s calls of the Cards.

“He did great, and I was so proud of him,” Buck said of Chip’s work during a trying 2023 season for the Cardinals. “I think it’s a great fit both ways -- him being back here and the Cardinals getting him. I know Chip enjoyed every minute of being back in St. Louis.”