A Farewell to Legendary Ernie Harwell

The long time voice of the Detroit Tigers, Ernie Harwell, succumbed to his battle with cancer at the age of 92. It is interesting how much emotion can be contained in such a brief statement.

The world of baseball did not just lose a broadcaster, it lost a national treasure. Harwell did not just call a baseball game. He painted a canvas in our imaginations. Long before the days of television, multiple camera angles, and instant gratification there were men like Ernie Harwell who introduced generations to America’s pastime.

In an era where pocket radios were the communication tool of choice, Harwell would welcome listeners to join him in the booth and become a part of the game. Countless thousands in the Detroit listening area would listen intently as he described the game.

Harwell’s style was not just reporting the game as it happened. He was a friend who welcomed you to join him on the porch with a glass of lemonade on a hot summer afternoon to forget your troubles and just become a part of baseball.

With the announcement of Harwell’s death, people came forth with their own memories of Ernie the man. The one consistent description throughout all of these stories was the fact that Harwell was a gentleman. He was a fair reporter who never took shots at any player and always was fair in how he described the game.

Harwell was synonymous with the Detroit Tigers. You simply could not think of one without the other. And while he was an icon to those in Michigan, he may have been lesser known in other parts of the country.

The MLB Network helped to rectify that situation. Since they began programming there have been broadcasts of historical games featuring the Detroit Tigers and Ernie Harwell. This allowed him to become better known by yet another generation of baseball fans.

Prior to the beginning of the 2010 season the MLB Network offered a sit down conversation with Bob Costas and Ernie Harwell. It provided a more personal glimpse at Harwell as a person. You came away touched by his humanity and compassion as well as his love of the game.

Throughout baseball, teams are honoring his memory with a moment of silence. During that time everyone who ever heard Harwell’s voice will undoubtedly reckon back to his voice and what he meant to them and to baseball. Baseball will never see another like Ernie Harwell.


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