Tuesday, May 4, 2010

So Long Ernie, You'll Be Missed

Sitting up summer nights as a young boy growing up in Windsor Ontario, I had the good fortune to fall asleep to the gentle story-telling voice of Hall of Fame baseball announcer Ernie Harwell. The story of Ernie Harwell's career as a major league broadcaster reads like a fable to those lucky enough to know his best known calls:

On a batter taking a pitch for strike three:
"He stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched that one go by."

On a definitive home run:
"Gibson swings, it's way back, and it's loooooong gone."

On a foul ball to the stands:
"And that one was caught by a fan from Muskegon."
(or any other small town where a distant fan might be tuned in.)

John Lowe summarizes what it was like to listen to Ernie on the radio:

"Listening to him was as pleasant as being at Tiger Stadium in the summertime. As he fell silent between pitches, listeners got to hear the sounds of the ballpark — the crowd’s buzz, the vendor’s cry — and absorb the rhythm of the game."

So Long Ernie, You'll be Missed.
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