Wrigley's ironman organist retiring after 33 years

Gary Pressy has played the organ at Wrigley Field for 2,679 consecutive Chicago Cubs games -- and counting. That streak, however, will come to an end after this season.

The 61-year-old Pressy, who began his career with the Cubs in 1987, is retiring after this season.

"I've been there a third of a century, 33 years, and I think the cup is full," Pressy told the Chicago Tribune on Friday. "I was debating it back and forth, but I really just wanted to spend more quality time with my family. Around the All-Star break I really got to thinking about it and made my decision."

Among his duties is to play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch -- a tradition made famous by late broadcaster Harry Caray that has continued with guest conductors since Caray's death in 1998.

"[Mike] Ditka is No. 1," Pressy told the Tribune about his favorite guests. "He ran a little late, coming up the ramps on his artificial hip, grabbed the mic from Steve Stone and did a polka version. Then we scored a lot of runs.

"Everyone asked, 'What did you think of Ditka?' I said: 'He just put it on the map.'"

The Cubs will honor Pressy during the final homestand of the season, which ends next Sunday.

Wrigley Field has had a full-time organist since 1967, and the team told the Tribune that it will begin a search for Pressy's replacement after the season.

"I'm hoping my last appearance this year will be at another parade," Pressy told the Tribune. "That would work out."