Ernie Harwell has cancer

The news certainly puts a damper on, well, everything. Legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer that is near his bile duct. Harwell is 91 and has had very good health up until this point. Prayers go out to Ernie and his bride of 68 years Lulu.

Not even cancer diagnosis can shake Harwell’s spirit | Detroit Free Press |

26 thoughts on “Ernie Harwell has cancer”

  1. Oh that’s so sad. I remember as a kid driving up North and hearing Ernie describe a foul ball and saying ‘a young man from Grayling made a great catch.’ I think i was 14 before I realized that he didn’t actually know who caught every foul ball. And in college in Chicago, I’d go down by the Lake with my walkman to get an Ernie fix during the 87 and 88 pennant races. He’s like an old dear friend.
    Here’s hoping Harwell hangs in for at least one more October.

  2. the word of ernie having cancer is spreading fast. he has touched so many people over the years. for many of us, ernie has been with us most of our lives. there is sadness, yet we will listen to what ernie has to say. what is great for many of us is that when his name is mentioned it conjures up memories from the past. like the 68 tigers or the 84 tigers. for me, i remember living in houston texas back in 1981, and even though it was a shortened season because of the baseball strike, i could get the tigers on the radio on some nights. when i did, i would think of my family back in the detroit area.
    he was my link to my family. anyway, our prayers are with ernie and his family.

  3. I love Mario and Rod but there is only one Ernie I listened to him from childhood till his last game and I was smiling ear to ear when he called an inning of the Tigers/Yankees ALDS game back in ’06.

    And I am right there with Stephen on the foul ball catches. I remember asking my Dad how he knew who caught the ball and he said “there isn’t much that Ernie doesn’t know”. For me Ernie is the embodiment of a living legend. All the best to him and his wife.

  4. Ernie Harwell is a major reason for my becoming a Tigers fan. As a young lad growing up in Minneapolis back in the ’60s, WJR had a (usually) strong and clear signal which could be picked up here in the evenings. I spent many nights glued to the radio listening to Mr. Harwell’s wonderfully imaginative descriptions of batters “standing like a house by the sideof the road watching them go by” and the like. Thanks Ernie, and the best of luck in warding off the cancer as best as possible.

    By the way, a couple of years ago he released a biographical 4-cd set entitled “Ernie Harwell’s Audio Scrapbook.” No true Tigers fan should be without this gem. Get a copy ASAP.

  5. I think he’s happy with his life and what he’s done. That’s about all anyone could ask for.

    If the end comes during the season, I definitely hope there is an appropriate event at the CoPa (if that would be in accordance with his wishes). It’s going to be heartbreaking to walk to my seats by the statue of Ernie with the year of death inscribed on it. I much prefer the “1918 – “.

    Here’s hoping he can leave with minimal pain and in full knowledge of how much he means to so many. I, for one, can definitely say that without Ernie, I never became a baseball fan.

  6. “It could be a year, it could be much less than a year, much less than half a year. Who knows? Whatever’s in store, I’m ready for a new adventure. That’s the way I look at it.”

    That’s Ernie discussing the diagnosis with the AP. The guy is simply one of a kind–and that’s why this is such sad news.

  7. I wish there were more people like Ernie Harwell. He brought poetry to the game. He’s a big reason why I’m always a Tiger.

  8. A friend asked Ernie to write me a congratulatory note when I retired eight years ago; that note, framed, is among my proudest possessions. Ernie defined “class.” The game came first, last and always. He put his personality in service to the game, not to building an image. And now we stand here like Ernie’s proverbial “house by the side of the road” and watch nature take its inevitable course. Ernire, you were, and are, the best.

  9. Ernie is the best and I wish him all the best in his fight with cancer. Ernie is such a great human being and you can’t help but be discouraged when you hear things like this happening to a quality person. God Bless you Ernie!

  10. I started following the Tigers after moving to Detroit in 1966 from NYC. I can still recall hearing Ernie say “Listen to the bedlam!” when the Tigers clinched the pennant in 1968. As most know, there was a newspaper strike going on during most of the ’68 season, yet every Tiger fan knew the team won/loss record, standings, and each player’s batting average. Truely a credit to Ernie, Ray Lane, and the TV team.

    Years later as a student down at Texas A&M, from time-to-time I would pick up a faint WJR and hear the voice of summer. He was such a strong contrast from the Astro announcers as Ernie always seemed to tell a story rather than try to sell you on the excitment or sizzle of the game.

    Years later in 1998 I made my final visit to Tiger Stadium to watch a 3-game series against Seattle. After the last game, I did a lap around the inside of Tiger Stadium. While walking along on the corridor of the third base upperdeck, I was passed by a small elderly man walking at a fast pace. After a few moments I realized that was Ernie heading home from the office.

    We also talked to him when we attended Tiger/Ranger games in Arlington. He was always amazed to hear we drove all the way over from Mississippi to watch the Tigers who at the time were always way back in the standings. He always asked us who our favorite Tiger was too. He smiled at our answers which made me feel we somehow justified his favorites too.

    God Bless you Ernie Harwell as our prayers will always be with you.

  11. The only prayers I’ll offer up for Ernie will be that he doesn’t experience too much pain. Frankly, I hope Ernie prays for me and my family. His prayers probably have a lot more “pull” with God than mine do.

  12. One day in the off-season (or one week) we’ll have to do a Ernie Harwell tribute, b/c I’m sure we could all go on for days about him. But here’s a great story posted by Chuck Swirsky on today.

    I’ve got a million Ernie Harwell stories that I’ll share when I host Chicago Baseball Tonight throughout the month of September on ESPN 1000. I’ll toss one at you to hold you over: Some 25 years ago, Ernie was invited to the White House by then President Ronald Reagan. Reagan, a former sportscaster and actor who played Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander in the 1952 movie, “The Winning Team,” loved Harwell’s broadcasting style and encyclopedic memory . After lunch, the two had a long conversation about the state of baseball to the point Reagan’s assistant informed the President that a foreign dignitary was patiently waiting for his meeting . The President told his assistant that his next appointment could wait a bit longer, after all it’s not every day you get a chance to talk to a” living legend in Ernie Harwell.”

  13. Sad news, but as usual he takes it all in stride, and teaches us all a lesson we can all use. I treasure those times when you could hear Tiger baseball easily, and Ernie’s cool & collected voice made everything alright. My favorite line of his was the strikeout comment, “He stood there like the house by the side of the road.” I rushed home from high school in 68 to hear Ernie call the final game of a great series. Here’s to you, Ernie, and thanks, thanks, and thanks again for all the joy you brought “just another American kid who loves baseball.” Godspeed on your next journey!

  14. The greatest voice in the history of America’s greatest sport.

    And many of us got to grow up listening to him call Tigers baseball. Pretty lucky, aren’t we?

  15. god bless you ernie we will all miss you.

    years ago i was at your home in farmington hills for a service call and you had signed one of your baseballs for me.
    it was a great pleasure meeting you and sharing some of your stories with me.

    forever greatful


  16. I just heard the news today and I am very sad. You see when I was a boy in 1968 I listened to Ernie and the Tigers from my bed each night in North Carolina. My parents often would get mad with me for listening because when the Tigers went to the west coast those games would end in the early morning hours so I didn’t get much sleep during those school nights. In those days broadcasts, on (WJR)AM , were not so perfect as they are today being able to see the Tigers on cable TV. The games would go in and out and I was always glad when it was cloudy and the atmosphere perfect. The signal strength was the best! The Detroit Tigers were MY team and it taught me being loyal through the good times and the bad.
    I graduated college ( FL Southern College in Lakeland, FL) with a degree in Health and Physical Education. I never taught or coached but instead started promoting baseball in high school to help it become a revenue producing sport. I was successful, and since 1989 I took on the role of radio sportscaster. First on the High School level and now in the College Baseball with the Winthrop Eagles in Rock Hill, SC.
    We have never met and through the years I have started other people on their journey in broadcasting. I just hope that my efforts will effect them half as much as you have effected mine
    All of this story to just to tell how much Ernie Harwell shaped my life. Ernie you will always be an inspiration to me!



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