Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Remembering Ernie Harwell

Ernie Harwell, the long-time voice of the Detroit Tigers, passed away yesterday. He was a legendary sports figure and a great among those who were privileged enough to have the opportunity to describe baseball on the radio. He was 92 years old.

As a kid, I loved to follow the Detroit Tigers. In those days they were mediocre at best, but I was a loyal fan nonetheless. I remember listening to Ernie and his broadcast partner, Paul Carey, describe the games with the various transistor radios I had over the years. When they played evening games on the West Coast, I'd often fall asleep listening to the games in the top bunk of my bedroom with an ear plug.

Even after I left Detroit to join the Army I would often be able to catch his voice on WJR, the clear channel station in Detroit. There were a couple occasions I was even able to hear the station in Texas - though that didn't happen but two or three times.

My favorite memory of Ernie happened in 1987. I'd just been assigned to a unit in Augsburg, Germany. I was feeling kind of homesick one day when I turned on the radio and there, on Armed Forces Network, was the voice of Ernie Harwell working his verbal magic over the air waves. I wrote him a letter that day, thanking him for his wonderful work on behalf of the Tigers and for making me feel a little less far away.

Last year, the Tigers paid tribute to the man who for so long was their voice. Reading his speech brought tears to my eyes as I recalled those memories of his voice coming through the radio.

Thank you, Ernie.

No comments:

Post a Comment