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A Legend Passes

May 8, 2010 - Al Stephenson

I am, without a doubt, a loyal Cleveland Indians fan.  I do not like the Detroit Tigers.  I don't hate them either mind you, but they are a Tribe opponent and therefore I do not want to see them win, particularly when they play "us."

I was saddened however when I learned of the death of Ernie Harwell, the long time Tigers announcer.  Ernie had a golden voice and a disarming personality that made all baseball fans like him.  He was the voice of the Tigers for over 40 years and even Tribe fans grew up wishing he called games for our team.

He had a couple of signature calls that I remember.  A batter who took a called third strike "stood there like a house along the side of the road."  A foul ball that went into the stands was "caught by a man from Grosse Pointe."  Even though you were sure he did not know the fan, he made everyone feel like he did.

The man's voice was soothing to your ear.  He came across as being the nicest person in the world and I think that was a distinct possibility.  He was very complimentary of opposing players and you would not hear him criticize any player very often.  He never felt the need to be negative and for that I was eternally grateful.

The only blight on his career was not his doing.  When new ownership fired him in 1991 the Tiger faithful raised a ruckus, as they should have.  I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of in sports.  By 1993 he was back.  He never should have been gone.

The view from my seat suggests that one of sports finest human beings is now gone.  Thanks Ernie for all the memories.  May you rest in peace. 


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