Harry Caray’s solves decades-long mystery of fan letter written in Braille
Loop North News

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(Above) Harry Caray recovers from an accident in 1968 that broke both his legs. Photo provided by Grant DePorter.

28-Jun-21 – The letter to sportscaster and Chicago legend Harry Caray had hung on a wall next to his office since 1987 but no one knew what it said because it was written in Braille.

The tactile writing system has been around since 1824 and more than 130,000 sight-impaired people in the United States still read Braille, but apparently none of them had visited Caray in his office.

Stephanie Gibson

One fan – Stephanie Gibson of Talladega, Alabama – did write him a letter after Caray was struck by a car while crossing a street in St. Louis on November 3, 1968. The accident sent him to Barnes Hospital (now Barnes-Jewish Hospital) in St. Louis with two broken legs, but after rest and rehab in Florida, Caray recovered in time for the start of the 1969 Major League Baseball season.

(Left) Letter to Harry Caray written in Braille by Stephanie Gibson. Click on image to view larger version.

52 years later, the owner of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, Grant DePorter, posted the letter on Facebook, seeking advice on how to translate the letter. One reader of the post – this reporter, to be precise – opened a photo of the letter in Adobe Photoshop, increased the contrast, and submitted it to an online Braille translator at ABC Braille.

The website, developed by Gonzalo Ernst, produced this translation:

Mr. Harry Caray
Barnes Hospital
St. Louis, Missouri

213 Coffee Street
Talladega, Alabama

November 5, 1968

Dear Mr. Caray,

I was so sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you get well soon.

Your broadcast of the World Series made it more interesting to me.

We are all pulling for your speedy recovery and are looking forward to hearing you again on radio.

We will remember you in our prayers.

Again, get well soon.

Sincerely yours,

Miss Stephanie Gibson

“Harry liked that a fan wrote him in Braille and had it framed but told me he did not know what it said,” recalled DePorter. “Harry received bags of fan mail every week for 50 years but that letter stood out so he had it framed and put in a place of honor.”

DePorter says he read the translation to Caray’s widow, “Dutchie,” and reports she was “happy that we finally know what it says.”

• Contact Steven Dahlman at sdahlman@loopnorth.com


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