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RIP, Ernie Harwell

RIP, Ernie Harwell.

Here is the obit from the Detroit Free Press.

The MLB Network will rerun Bob Costas' interview with Harwell from November at 4 p.m. today.

Here are some excerpts from it:

This will be my last World Series, I think. Back in July, the doctors gave me six months to live, give or take a few months. I’m hoping to reach my birthday on January 25 but I’m pretty sure I won’t make the baseball season. But you never know as the Lord works wonders.
I’m not overwhelmed by the circumstances. One of the doctors said, “If you were my father, I’d say, don’t do anything, just relax and wait for the inevitable.” But I had great peace about that and closure to it and I knew God was in charge and whatever happens, happens for the best. I really have a lot of serenity and great support from my wife family and friends. It’s been so far a fairly easy task to accept it.
On Returning to Comerica Park on September 16:
That was a great event for me. First of all, I addressed the team, which was a real honor. Jim Leyland had the whole team around. And after a couple innings, they sent me out there with a microphone and I said a few words of farewell. It was very heartwarming for me to see the way people felt about me.
The old voice hasn’t changed that much in 50 years and I thank mainly the genes, the good health the Lord gave me, and the fact I enjoyed the job so much. I never looked at it as work. It was something I got great pleasure out of; Getting to know the people in baseball, traveling with them, and being a part of that great Major League Baseball fraternity.
I don’t think there’s any reason for this response except that I was the Tiger announcer. I showed up and did the best I could. I tried to be myself and my whole philosophy was the game was the main thing and don’t ever interfere with the game. People tune in to what the Tigers are doing. No matter whose doing the game, they’re going to tune in.
I do feel like those people out there were my friends and I hope I was their friend. It is a unique association that you have with your listener. I really appreciate the fact that they’ve taken interest in me. I don’t know that I deserve that. All I tried to do was be myself. I wanted to broadcast the game that I thought I’d like to hear as a listener. I tried to give the score as often as I could. I let the play take over and fill in with anecdotes or historical information that maybe nobody else came up with. There were going to be some people who like you and some who don’t like you and you have to accept that when you start out.
On moving from the segregated South to Brooklyn in 1948:
It was a little strange seeing a black man play against white competition. I accepted it and Jackie Robinson became a very good friend of mine. I played cards with him, played golf with him, rode the train with him. It’s the most exciting and most eventful thing that’s happened in sports history, the breaking of the color line by Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.
On leaving Baltimore IN 1960 and taking THE job WITH THE DETROIT TIGERS:
So I made the jump and it was probably the best move I ever made because the people in Michigan have really been super. They’re great fans, it’s an original franchise, and they have a great passion for baseball.

Here are some quotes about Harwell sent last night by the folks involved with tonight's WFUV fundraising gala honoring Harwell with the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award:

Vin Scully: "We were all richer for knowing him, and poorer for his passing. It is telling that Ernie Harwell received the award unanimously from the committee. He fulfilled the entire definition of what it takes to be a successful sports announcer. Throughout his career, Ernie was accurate, knowledgeable, informative, entertaining, honest, and fair. It came easy for him because he had all those qualities off the air, as well."

Al Kaline: "The players absolutely loved him. When he was broadcasting and would come into the locker room before the game, the guys wouldn't head to the training room. They were hoping that he was coming to talk to them! Ernie was especially helpful to other aspiring broadcasters, whether in college or high school or just starting out. He was kind of like a 'big brother' to everyone."

Sparky Anderson: "When you get as old as Ernie and me, it's kind of hard to know exactly how many years we've been friends. All I know for sure is that Ernie
Harwell is one of the finest men I've ever had the privilege to meet -- in
or out of the game of baseball.

"The thing that separates Ernie from so many others in the game is that
he's never changed in all those years. He always has a pleasant word to
say. He always cares about the other guy more than he cares about himself.
That's the difference. He's not only a pro, he's a real human being who
makes life a little better for all those around him.

"It's impossible to list all the awards he's won. Whatever the award may
be, Ernie has won it.
"Maybe they don't give out awards for just being a good guy. If they
ever do, Ernie will be at the top of the list.
"I thank you for all you've done for me and will keep you in my prayers."

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