Yesterday the City of Detroit mourned the loss of a great man, Ernie Harwell, the voice of summer. Ernie was the broadcast announcer for the Detroit Tigers for years. His voice on the radio meant that summer was here.
As a child I use to listen to Ernie on the radio, to hear the tigers play ball. And to me there was no one else in the world who spoke baseball like Ernie did. His voice, his humor and his love for the sport and the city came through each and every time he was on the air. I never had the privilege of knowing Ernie, that’s what us Detroiters call him, no Mr. Harwell for him, but all the stories I have read or heard, all the articles and reports about him all say the same thing, Ernie was the real deal. His love of life, God, baseball and the city of Detroit was as real as him. He was a perfect example of humility and compassion.
His faith was central to his life, Ernie was a professed Christian, and was not ashamed to admit it to anyone. He brought his faith in to his work, each and every spring Ernie would read a poem “The Voice of the turtle” passage from Song of Solomon:
"For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."
This reading was the mark of summer and all Detroiters would relish the day it was read on the radio. His voice and his style was all his own. Ernie had a way to make you feel comfortable and safe, his voice was like a security blanket for the whole city and for that matter the state as well. All of Michigan will miss this man, a man who was nothing more that a radio broadcaster, husband and father, a man like so many men, yet unlike most. Ernie will be missed, his voice will legendary but his true legacy his his life. One lived with purpose, one walked daily with God and one that I am sure had no regrets.
He was known for his low-key delivery, southern accent (Detroit "Ti-guhs"), and conversational style. Some of his trademark phrases were:
- "That one is long gone!" (His trademark home run call, with an emphasis on "long")
- "He stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched it go by." (After a called strikeout)
- "Called out for excessive window shopping." (Also after a called strikeout)
- "It’s two for the price of one!" (After a double play)
- "A fan from (insert a city) will be taking that ball home today." (When a fan would catch a foul ball)
- "The Tigers need instant runs." (When the team was behind in the late innings)
Harwell would also begin the first spring training broadcast of each season with a reading from Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (KJV): "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." (LINK)
May God bless his soul, and look over his family with loving compassion and grace.
|Ernie Harwell : Stories From My Life in Baseball (Honoring a Detroit Legend)|
|1 Thessalonians 5:16-18“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
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