RIP Ernie Harwell 1918-2010

When it was announced late last summer that Ernie Harwell had cancer, everyone knew this day would be coming too soon. Sadly, it came May 4th, 2010 as William Earnest “Ernie” Harwell has passed away at the age of 92.

I don’t have a unique story to tell about my relationship with Ernie. It was similar to the relationship millions of fans had over the years. He was a comforting voice, a soothing sound of summer on a warm evening. But you all knew that.

I had the pleasure to speak with Ernie one time. He agreed to do an interview for this site (Part 1 & Part 2). It was only the second interview I’d done and I was incredibly nervous. Mr. Harwell was incredibly gracious and instantly put me at ease. As I stumbled through my questions he would start to spin an answer so eloquent that I’d forget I was the one he was actually talking to. It was like I was a kid listening to him call a game.

There isn’t too much left to say at this point. Instead I will link to an article I wrote following the game in which he addressed the fans at Comerica Park.

Ernie Harwell and the Moment

24 thoughts on “RIP Ernie Harwell 1918-2010”

  1. Ernie was the best in the world at what he did, and not coincidentally, he loved what he did, and he loved the great game of baseball. May he rest in peace.

  2. ’tis a sad day in Mudville. He’ll always be the “Voice of the Tigers” to me; all thru my childhood and into young adulthood he was ‘the man at the mike.’ ALL of my Tiger memories [including wonderful ’68] have him calling the play-by-play. There will never be another like him. RIP good buddy….and THANK YOU!!!

  3. I truly hope the Tigers decide to wear an EH patch on their uniforms for the rest of the season.

  4. Ernie was the best. I’ll never forget his voice or all the calls…

  5. What hurts me the most about losing Ernie is knowing that many current and future fans will not grow up listening to Tigers games broadcast by Ernie Harwell. Truly, there are millions of us who have and know that old-fashioned voice as the voice of the Tigers for 3 generations. The younger fans won’t know what they missed but we do.

  6. I just wanted to express my condolences to Tigers fans on this site. As a Phillies fan, I know what its like to lose a broadcasting legend. I’m sure Harwell was the voice of summer and your childhood like Harry Kalas was to us. To many of you, he was probably like a member of your family. Make sure the team honors him appropriately. Good luck on the season Tigers fans.

  7. I’m a Braves fan, but I just wanted to say that I just want to send my condolences to the entire Detroit organization and their fans. This is a huge loss not only for the Tigers but all of baseball. He will the best. RIP Ernie.

  8. It WAS baseball. It WAS childhood. It WAS Detroit. And it WAS innocence. And it was all of those things for several generations of Tigers fans.

  9. I heard Dan Dickerson and Jim Price announce the news during the broadcast last night. You could hear the emotion in their voices, as it was obvious those two guys absolutely loved Ernie Harwell. They handled the news with class, and shared some memories. I do think it would be entirely appropriate for Dan or Jim to borrow a few “Ernie-isms” as a tribute. It would be fine with me if a young man from Kalamazoo takes home a foul ball, or if an opposing hitter stands there like a house by the side of the road and watches one go by.

  10. It’s apparent Ernie lived like he broadcasted, with class. If Tiger fans had to name one person who best represents the Tiger organization and what it means to be a Tiger fan, out of all the great players and teams, most would choose Ernie.

    Ernie was, is and will always be the soundtrack for anything related to the Detroit Tigers for the past 50 years.

  11. In honor of Ernie and Brandon Inge’s 1000th strikeout:
    ‘He stood there like the house on the side of the road!’

  12. Does anyone know a source of legal downloads of old Tiger radio broadcasts? I’d love to have a selection of old games from the 60s, 70s and 80s…

    1. I don’t know about old radio broadcasts, but I have the Ernie Harwell Audio Scrapbook that is a great way to remember Ernie. There are clips from him announcing over the years from highlights such as the ’68 and ’84 World Series in addition to just listening to Ernie reminisce about his life in baseball.

  13. Ernie no one did it better than you ..I hope you get the chance to “sit at that house on the side of the road”..RIP

  14. We posted this tribute poem to Ernie last week, at our site for baseball poetry, Bardball dot com. Hope you like it. Ernie, we’ll miss you:


    Now the Tigers’ voice has been quieted.
    He saw teams that won, and fans that rioted.
    He saw a man play in the bigs after jail.
    He saw a boy pitching tell his baseball a tale.
    He saw a flawed man win 31 games,
    The careers of good men go up in flames.
    He watched a beloved ballpark decay
    And the City of Wheels fall by the way.
    Yet he knew in the end it was only a game.
    God’s plan ignores things like money and fame.
    A bat’s just a branch, a mitt is just leather.
    Baseball’s true worth is bringing people together.

    Some night, when a hit curves decidedly foul,
    We’ll hear a faint voice with a sweet Georgia drawl,
    Say, chuckling with fathomless love for it all,
    “A man from Paradise just caught that ball.”

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