I learned today that the long-time voice of the Detroit Tigers, Ernie
Harwell died today at the age of 92.
His was the voice of my childhood summers in Michigan as he and I got the
Tigers through so many dismal seasons with those weird moments of hope, Like
Mark The Bird Fidrich and that magical 1984 when they won everything in
sight. His thoughtful delivery and clear insights into the game of
baseball, along with his obvious and infectious excitement made me the
sports fan I am today. His tireless work for the betterment of others,
including work done after he knew he was terminally ill is an inspiration to
I had the privilege of meeting Ernie Harwell before what was then an annual
Beep Baseball game at Tiger Stadium in 1987. He came into the dugout and
visited with all us players. Our conversations were not perfunctory; he
talked with everybody for several minutes apiece and autographed our caps.
It was and is clear to me that he did not find this a chore, and he met us
as fellow lovers of the game, not as handicapped (remember the times) people
doing something novel. It remains a great memory to me, even though he got
to call me striking out over the PA system in those inimitable tones of his.
He lived well and fully, and is probably one of the very few people whom
just about everybody from the Detroit area loved. His career was baseball,
but his life touched so many of us in a larger way.
Farewell Ernie, ride that home run ball into the starry Heavens. In their
company, you will always shine brightly, even when you're Long Gone.
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