Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baseball lost a legend today---but to those of us lucky enough to be Detroit Tiger fans,we lost a friend. Ernie Harwell(in AP photo above), long time radio announcer of the Tigers died yesterday at the age of 92. There are lots of Ernie stories going around today so I will add mine. In the summer of 1984, Adam was a newborn and Matt was six. Every evening , Dan and I would turn on WJR and listen to Ernie and George Kell call the games. Ernie's signature style was that everytime someone caught a foul ball, he would say in a gentle, slightly southern voice " And a fan from Kalamazoo(or Saginaw, or Monroe or numerous other cities) caught that one"! Dan and I got a kick over Matt always being amazed that Ernie knew where all the fans were from!. And many a night I sat rocking Adam to sleep with Ernie. That was the summer that the serial killers Elton Coleman and Deborah Denice Brown left a bloody trail from Gary Indiana to Toledo. When Colemans car was found in Toledo, I spent most of the summer in a state of anxiety, but Ernie on the radio was the perfect anti-anxiety medicine. Summer ended. Coleman and Brown were found and arrested(after killing a Toledo mother and daughter) and the Tigers won the World Series. Ernie would go on for many more seasons until he was forced into retirement, much to the outrage of Tiger fans everywhere. I still have my ERNIE WE WANT HIM BACK tee shirt! The Tigers were sold to Mike Illitch and God bless him, he brought Ernie back to do an inning every game and once again, the "voice of the turtle was heard throughout the land". I don't think anyone will ever come close to what Ernie Harwell was to baseball, Michigan and Tiger fans.

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