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1966 Harry Caray Signed Check - Interesting "Busch's Grove" Connection

Lot Number 830

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Ever heard the story of Harry Caray's unceremonious firing in 1969 after 25 years in the Cardinals' broadcasting booth? Some say it was a mere marketing decision by Anheuser-Busch; others (including Caray) blamed the unsubstantiated rumors of an affair with Gussie Busch's daughter-in-law Susan. Either way, the pertinent part of the saga here is that it notoriously came to a head at Busch's Grove—the famous roadhouse restaurant that hosted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers and Charles Lindbergh. And that's precisely where Caray signed this personal check to cover either his tab or his meals on May 4, 1966. But we'll let Harry tell the 1969 Busch's Grove tale in his own words, as he did in his autobiography Holy Cow!:


      "On my way back home that night, I stopped, as I often did, at a restaurant and bar called Busch's Grove—which, despite its name, has no association with the brewery. It's a nice place where all the locals hung out, right near my home in St. Louis's western suburbs.
      When I got there, the television stations started calling. They wanted to interview me for the evening news. I told them that I'd just left downtown. If they wanted to see me, they'd have to come out to Busch's Grove. That’s where the Harry Caray Firing Headquarters had been set up.
      That's when I did the only thing I wish I hadn't. My anger began to grow, and with the television stations coming out, I decided to get some revenge at the brewery.

      I knew they didn't carry Schlitz at Busch's Grove and, frankly, it would have been about the last beer I would have thought to order. But at the time, Schlitz was Anheuser-Busch's big competition. So I asked Otis Dunlap, the bartender, to go across the street and buy a six-pack of Schlitz for me…And when the television crews and the photographers showed up, there I was. It was a strange and famous picture: Harry Caray holding a can of Schlitz. But I didn’t drink from it."


Caray's check to Busch's Grove from a few years earlier measures 3x8 and is generally clean except for a cancellation slit, a filing fold and a strip of mounting tape along the top edge of the reverse. His ballpoint signature rates "9-10" strength. Auction LOA from JSA.

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