Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ernie Harwell: 1918-2010

On Tuesday May 4th, sports broadcaster Ernie Harwell passed away at his home in Novi, MI after a nearly year-long battle with incurable cancer. He was 92. Although Ernie previously had served as the announcer for The Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, and Baltimore Orioles, he is best known for the 40-plus years (1960-1991, 1993-2002) he spent calling games for The Detroit Tigers. In fact, Ernie eventually became known as "The Voice of the Tigers".

One of my fondest memories as a kid was listening to Ernie and his broadcast partner Paul Carey cover Tiger games on WJR (760 AM) during that magical season of 1984 when Detroit won the World Series. As did countless others, I enjoyed Ernie's warm, conversational style of broadcasting. His love of baseball was evident and he never tried to be bigger than the game. After his retirement in 2002, Ernie didn't fade away completely. It was always a treat when he showed up in the TV booth during his final years to call a few innings of a Tiger game and share anecdotes from his legendary career.

Below is a video tribute to Ernie Harwell followed by his farewell address to Tiger fans at Comerica Park. This took place on September 16, 2009, less than two weeks after Ernie announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer.


emily said...

As I'm sure everyone who is a Tiger fan feels...Ernie Harwell is the voice of summer to me. My earliest memories are of sitting on my Dad and Grandpa's laps in the summer on the front porch in the evening listening to Tigers games on the transistor radio. Whenever I hear his voice I go back to those very early and very happy memories. He will be missed.

jamie said...

Listening to Ernie announce a Tiger game on WJR defined summer in Michigan. If you were fortunate enough to meet him, you felt like you made a friend for life, and if you were fortunate enough to meet him again, he confirmed it. Best announcer and nicest guy ever.

Malcolm said...

Emily: For the longest time, Ernie Harwell was synonymous with summers around here. In many ways, listening to Ernie was the audio equivalent of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Jamie: One of my regrets is that I never got to meet Ernie Harwell. At the end of the clip I posted, a man is holding a sign up in reference to Ernie that I think says it best "How A Person Should Be".

To all: On Saturday 5/8 at 10 am, 97.1 The Ticket (WXYT) is rebroadcasting in its entirety Ernie's final game.

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