Holy Cow! Grant DePorter and Harry Caray's Restaurant Group threw a party and EVERYBODY came! The grand opening of the Chicago Sports Museum and Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch also coincided with Harry's 100th birthday celebration. This star-studded VIP Grand Opening on April 1st included iconic sports figures, actors and musicians who all enjoyed the amazing interactive Museum exhibits and tasty bites from the restaurant. Brandon Marshall and Ron Harper, both of whom flew in to town just for the opening, brought their own memorabilia to put on display in the Museum. Ron placed TWO of his Bulls championship rings in the ring case and Brandon arrived with his 2014 Pro Bowl game used helmet, the football used to score his first touchdown as a Bear and his game worn alligator cleats and jersey!
Attendees could match their wingspan against Scotty Pippin's, compare their jump to Michael Jordan, test reaction time against Hawks goalie Tony Esposito and sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in a replica of Harry's broadcast booth. The championship ring display case also gave partygoers the opportunity to try on the largest ring ever created, Refrigerator Perry's, that's a size 25! The extensive memorabilia collection is a passion of DePorter's who has collected high end items such as Sammy Sosa's corked bat and the Bartman Ball as well as the toilet seat from the Cubs' dugout signed by the team and the stitches Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw required the night they clinched the Stanley Cup. As you can see, there is something for everyone!
For the celebratory toast, Budweiser beers were offered, Harry's drink of choice, and guests wore oversized glasses ala Harry to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" led by Deporter, Dutchie Caray, Brandon Marshall and Ron Harper. The beautiful cake was courtesy of Eli's Cheesecake and was topped with an edible sign that read "The 16th annual Worldwide Toast to Harry".
Sports stars and celebs who packed the Red Carpet included current Bears Brandon Marshall and Alex Brown, former Bears Richard Dent (Hall of Fame), Donnell Woolford, James "Big Cat" Williams, Jerry Azumah, Otis Wilson, and Walter Payton’s son (and current WGN FM radio host) Jarrett Payton, former Bulls Ron Harper, Dickey Simpkins and Will Perdue, Blackhawks Bobby Hull (Hall of Fame), CEO John McDonough, Executive Vice President Jay Blunk and National Anthem singer Jim Cornelison, Mr. Cub Ernie Banks (Hall of Fame), Milt Pappas, Dave Otto, Randy Hundley and Ryan Dempster, former White Sox Ron Kittle, Ozzie Guillen, announcer Steve Stone and White Sox and Bulls partner Carol “Mickey” Norton, Sky player Elena Delle Donne and Head Coach Pokey Chatman, pro fastpitch Bandits players Tammy Williams, Amber Patton and Brittany Cervantes, Chicago Fire players Mike Magee and Gonzalo Segares, Hall of Fame football coach Marv Levy, actors James Denton and Billy Zane, Dave Tirio of the Plain White T’s, 2014 Olympic Bobsledding Silver Medalist Aja Evans, Academy Award winning special effects director Michael Lantieri and Harry’s widow Dutchie Caray. Media personalities in attendance included Tribune Broadcasting President Larry Wert, WTMX Radio hosts Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart as well as Brian “Whip” Paruch, Windy City Live host Ryan Chiaverini, CBS anchor Roseanne Tellez, NBC weather reporter Cheryl Scott, FOX TV reporters Darelene Hill and Mike Flannery, ABC7 reporter John Garcia, ESPN Radio reporter Sarah Spain, WGN radio hosts Pete McMurray and Steve Dale, radio and TV host Mancow Muller, Bears announcer Jeff Joniak, WGN radio hosts Harry Teinowitz, Jarrett Payton and Spike Manton, WBBM’s Ron Gleason, WFLD's Lou Canellis, AM 560 radio host Amy Jacobson, WLS Radio’s Richard Roeper and Marti Jones. Other notables in attendance included Chicago Police Department Supt. Garry McCarthy and Cdr. Bill Dunn, Alderman Brendan Reilly and Alderman Bob Fioretti and Nicki Pecori, Cook County Commissioners Bridget Gainer and John A. Fritchey, WCIU's Rob Morhaim, Tim Smithe, Laurie Dimakos, Kate Gaddi, Carol Stein, Mary Ann Young, Mable Buckner, Regina Rice and former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias among many others. (Marshall, Payton, Hull, Kittle, Norton, Levy, Denton, Dutchie Caray, and Dent are all Museum/Restaurant partners).
The 8,000 square foot Museum and restaurant (both covering more than 23,000 square feet total) are now open to the public on the 7th level of Water Tower Place! Play Ball! (Fabulous photos by Mila Samokhina) (Stay tuned for my Watch312.com segment coming soon!)
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Filed under: citylife
Tags: Alderman Bob Fioretti, Alderman Brendan Reilly, Alex Brown, Alexi Giannoulias, Billy Zane, Brandon Marshall, Chicago Sports Museum, Dickie Simpkins, Donnell Woolford, Dutchie Caray, Elena Delle Donne, Eli's cheesecake, Garry McCarthy, Grant DePorter, Harry Caray's, Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch, James Denton, Jarrett Payton, Jim Cornelison, Larry Wert, Mancow, Marv Levy, Michi Marshall, Ozzie Guillen, Randy Hundley, Richard Dent, Ron Harper