RIP Ernie Harwell 1918-2010

by billfer on May 4, 2010 · 24 comments

in 2010 Season,Former Tigers

Post image for 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 comments }

Vern Morrison May 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm

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.

Scott May 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm

’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!!!

Shane Trapped in Toledo May 4, 2010 at 9:09 pm

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

Cameron in Singapore May 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm

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

Smith May 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Here’s a youtube video of his farewell speech at Comerica last September.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EukBYSPwjxA&feature=related

Keith (Mr. X) May 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Thank you Ernie! RIP.

kathy May 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

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.

Steve in OH May 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm

God bless you, Ernie – may you rest in baseball heaven.

Spike May 4, 2010 at 11:11 pm

He had a deep love of the game and the perfect voice to express it.

Jeremy D May 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm

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.

Randolph May 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm

May god rest your soul Ernie!

Andy May 5, 2010 at 2:40 am

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.

Good Videos May 5, 2010 at 4:44 am

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.

scotsw May 5, 2010 at 6:45 am

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.

Stormin Norman $ May 5, 2010 at 8:32 am

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.

Juskimo May 5, 2010 at 9:24 am

Go in peace Ernie.

stephen May 5, 2010 at 10:21 am

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

Joey C. May 5, 2010 at 10:39 am

Miss you already Ernie. Goodbye old friend.

Slashpyne May 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

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…

Andrew May 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm

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.

jud May 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

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

Andrew May 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Not just a great broadcaster, but more importantly, Ernie Harwell was a great man.

James Finn Garner May 10, 2010 at 9:50 am

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:

ERNIE HARWELL

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.”

billfer May 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Excellent James. Thanks for sharing.

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