Ernie Harwell 1918-2010

In a fight for his life that he knew he would lose, William Ernest Harwell, the voice of the Detroit Tigers has died at the age of 92. [Detroit News Story] About a year ago, Harwell was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. He passed away in the evening of May 4th at his home in Novi, MI.

The city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and Tigers fans everywhere have lost not only a radio legend, but a friend. Not too often a radio announcer is so beloved by the fans that listened to him. But Ernie Harwell had a certain way about him that transcended the game he called for over 55 years.

Professional baseball today is a mere shadow of what it once was. The so-called "steroid era" has tarnished the game. But even today, Harwell embodied all that was true and honest about America's pastime.

In a rather shocking move in 1990, Harwell's contract with the Tiger's organization was not renewed. Team president at the time, Bo Schembechler, faced very harsh criticism for the decision. He quit the job in 1992 after team owner Tom Monaghan sold the team. New owner Mike Ilitch hired Harwell back to the Tigers in 1993 after Harwell spend the previous season calling games part-time for the California Angels.

In January 2009, the American Sportscasters Association ranked Harwell 16th on its list of Top 50 Sportscasters of All Time. Ernie called his last game for the Tigers on September 22, 2002.

Tonight, this is a Tiger's blog. God bless you Ernie.

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