It breaks my heart to say this, but next year when the inevitable list of those who passed on in 2010 will be presented one year from now, one of the names on the list will almost certainly be Ernie Harwell. The sports world has known Harwell has been stricken with inoperable cancer since the closing weeks of the 2009 baseball season as he bid farewell to the faithful at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.
Ernie Harwell is one of the last surviving members of a wonderful fraternity of baseball announcers who started their career when radio was king and television was in its infancy. They could enchant the listener to visualizing the ballgame in his imagination as brilliant story tellers and ingenious experts on the sport. Now only Vin Scully remains behind the microphone calling home games at Dodgers Stadium and other select western venues.
Baltimore fans will think fondly of Chuck Thompson as the avuncular figure who made Orioles games memorable remaining with the Orioles on a part time basis through the 1990's, but some of us remember Ernie Harwell was the first voice of the Orioles from the team's first pitch in 1954 through the 1959 season before he left for Detroit. For part of that tenure, Ernie and Chuck were partners. Imagine that!
Here's a wonderful article from ESPN.COM on Ernie's graceful final days. Time is running short, but can we pray this wonderful man can welcome one more opening day in Tiger town?
Please take a moment to say a prayer of thanks for this wonderful man. Anyone who loves baseball and has heard Ernie Harwell call a game knows what a wonderful person he is. One need not be limited to Detroit as Harwell frequently got the nod to be involved in post season and some game-of-the-week broadcasts.
We LOVE YOU Ernie!!!!