Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ernie Harwell, The Voice Of Tiger Baseball

On September 16, 2009, only a few weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, Ernie Harwell, the broadcasting Voice of the Detroit Tigers for 42 years, gave his farewell to fans:

Ernie Harwell: Tigers legend, Michigan's beloved son
You know how you can tell when a person is from Michigan? If you ask them where they’re from, they’ll hold up their hand, like it was a map of the state, and point to their home town.

But today, you won’t have to ask anything. It should be easy to spot Michiganders, because they’ll be crying.

Ernie Harwell, the broadcasting voice of the Detroit Tigers for more than 40 years, passed away on Tuesday, at the age of 92. As many in the state have noted, Mr. Harwell quite possibly was the most beloved Michigander of all time.

Ernie Harwell: The Definition of Baseball
The world is a little less gracious, a little less gentlemanly tonight. Legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell is gone, probably talking with baseball fans in heaven above in that beautiful, courtly manner of his, and the voice of our game is momentarily silenced and forever changed.

If Michigan summers could talk, they would sound like Ernie Harwell: Relentlessly sunny and optimistic. I wrote those words last September after one of the greatest baseball voices of our time went public with his battle with cancer and, on this sad evening, I can't say it better than that.
. . .

Meantime, as we observe a moment of silence, I'll leave you with Ernie's beautiful "definition of baseball", as he put it, from the end of his Hall of Fame speech in 1981. Those of you who read this blog regularly or semi-regularly know my affinity for picking out a Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day. Well, today, this is it, and it is perfect:

Good bye, Ernie. Thank you, and God bless you.


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