Ernie Harwell = Baseball
It’s a simple calculation. When I grew up, baseball becamse a passion for me. The Tigers had their share of good teams in the 1980s and one of the things people take for granted is all of the baseball on television. Back then (I sound like an old man), you got around 30-40 games on television a year. You got the game of the week on Saturdays and that would be your only chance to see teams from the National League (as well as the All Star Game, which was still a big deal). If you wanted to follow your team, you had the newspapers and then the radio. For most of my growing years, Ernie Harwell (and Paul Carey, who I feel is vastly underrated and should get some props as well) was the man. As a kid you didn’t know how good he was because you didn’t have anything to compare it to. He was just the guy who described everything for you so you could follow the game.
His catch phrases were all classics and he did a great job of not overusing them. I remember doing a double take when he called a foul ball and said it was caught by a gentleman from Southgate (my hometown) and whenever the Tigers turn a double play, “two for the price of one,” pops into my head to this day.
Most nights, I fell asleep listening to the game. I didn’t have the transistor radio under my pillow, I had the radio with a set of headphones so I could listen covertly. To this day, Ernie’s voice is imprinted in my brain and whenever he’s on a commercial or something, I don’t even have to look to know who it is.
Now he’s gone. And while it’s a little sad, you know Mr. Harwell, who was a man of deep faith, is in a better place. Your’e one of a kind Ernie. Thanks for all of the memories.