(St. Louis – May 6, 2010) Ernie Harwell, fans throughout the game of baseball knew the name. He served as the broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers for 42 seasons. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame Last Tuesday he passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Harwell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981, but during his induction speech he downplayed the award saying “I’m very proud of this award, but I’m even more proud of my family.” The Hall of Fame, though the most prestigious, was not the final award he received.
The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named Harwell as Michigan Sportscaster of the Year 19 times, and inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1989. He was elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame in 1998, among many other honors. In 2001, Harwell was the recipient of the prestigious Ty Tyson Award for Excellence in Sports Broadcasting, awarded by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association (DSBA). In 2009, Harwell was named the first recipient of the DSBA’s Ernie Harwell Lifetime Contribution Award.The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame inducted Harwell in 2008. In 2010 Harwell was named as a recipient of the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award from Fordham University’s radio station WFUV. The press box at Detroit’s Comerica Park was officially named the “Ernie Harwell Media Center” following his retirement from broadcasting.
Harwell was witness to some great moments in the game. From Jackie Robinson, to Willie Mays, to Brooks Robinson Harwell saw them all, and that was before he event got to Detroit. While in Detroit he witnessed everything from Al Kaline to seeing the Tigers in the October classic in 2006. Not only did he bring moments, but if nothing else he will go down in history as the only broadcaster ever traded for a player. He brought so many historic moments into the living rooms of Americans across the nation.
But to those in Detroit he was more than a broadcaster, he was a fan, and a friend. Here in St. Louis we knew a man similar to Mr. Harwell, his name was Jack Buck. We now grieve with baseball fans across the nation. The loss of Ernie Harwell goes well beyond Detroit and will be felt across the baseball world. Farewell to a broadcasting legend, farewell Ernie Harwell.