Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thanks Ernie...

As I move on everyday in this journey of mine, I find the highs and lows and try to manage as I go... No big surprise as most all of you try to do the same thing. And when you reach a certain age, you tend to spend just a wee bit of time looking back and reminiscing about happy times in the past. Usually, that involves childhood. At least that is what I do. A huge part of my childhood involved a transistor radio and hockey and baseball games. That was my ticket out from my house of blah that I painted for myself. We didn't have cable tv in my neighborhood until I was an adult. So all we had was about four or five channels on tv and whatever was on radio. Being a big sports fan, I loved listening to sports on the radio. It helped passed the time and it was such an important part of me back then. So it was with such sadness when I saw on tv that one of the most important voices of my childhood had passed away. Ernie Harwell was 92 years old but a VERY spry 92... The cancer in his bile duct took him from here but the memories of him calling Detroit Tigers baseball for 42 of his 55 year broadcast career will always be permanently etched in my head and my heart. The Georgia born but MADE in Detroit icon started his career in a weird way. Back in 1948, the Brooklyn Dodgers announcer fell ill, so their owner traded a minor league catcher to the minor league Atlanta Crackers for their announcer... Ernie Harwell! Ernie did short stints for Brooklyn, the old NY Giants, and then Baltimore, but finally found a home in the Motor City. Detroit and Ernie Harwell was a perfect match. My childhood was surviveable because I got to listen to Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey (a vastly underappreciated announcer in his own right) every day and it made sports such a hoot. I remember sitting on the porch with my ol' man and we'd have 760 WJR radio tuned in and Ernie and Paul would paint such a glorious picture of what was good about the world. It gave a hopeless kid from a rust-belt neighborhood a reason to look forward. It was a very important part of my childhood and now that such a vibrant part of it is gone, the world seems a little darker. But at least I'm glad that I was privelaged to have grown up (no matter how rough) and able to listen to a guy who helped shaped my view not only of sports, but a little bit of life too. Thanks Ern, you've done so much for so many. Now Heaven has their announcer... and he has a Southern accent!

3 comments:

Indigo said...

A wonderful tribute to a man who made your childhood memorable. (Hugs)Indigo

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

He was a true icon.

Carolyn said...

Mik, we grew up with similarities didn't we. I remember much of the same as you, although I don't remember Ernie. I did like the Tigers though (except when they played against us LOL) and I always loved Sparky! Mine was Foster Hewitt, and Hockey Night in Canada Eh. Oh, and ALWAYS Red Barber with This Week in Baseball. Ah, those were the good ol' days. Thank you Mik, you always have a way of making me remember too when you're in the memories mood. God Bless!!