Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ernie Harwell Dead at Age of 92

Ernie Harwell Dead at Age of 92
Ernie Harwell, the long-time Detroit Tigers radio and TV announcer died tonight at age 92 after a battle with cancer. The voice of the summers of my childhood has been quieted and a piece of the innocence in all of us goes with it. He was a good man who got to spend his life around the game he loved and was able to share it with all of us with humility, class, and an abundance of grace.

The Twins announced the news to the Target Field crowd during the seventh-inning stretch, putting a picture of his smiling face on the big screen. Twins fans saluted him with a warm standing ovation.

"His passion and wisdom during each broadcast gave you insight to his love for the Tigers, and for the state of Michigan," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "The entire Detroit Tigers' family extends their heartfelt condolences to his wife, Lulu, and the Harwell family."

If you didn't grow up within earshot of the 50,000 watts of WJR in Detroit, you probably can't quite understand this, but trust me when I say the man's voice simply WAS summer. 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.

No matter what was happening in my beleaguered hometown, from riots, to unemployment, to corruption, to an exodus, Ernie was the constant. And every year, spring came and anything was possible for Detroit when Ernie came on the radio to call a Tigers game. He stood above all the problems of that city with elegance, grace, class and never a nasty word for anyone.

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