Thursday, January 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Ernie

Today is Ernie Harwell's 89th birthday. Being a living legend and a Hall of Fame announcer is certainly cause enough to point this out. But Ernie is one of the main reasons that I fell in love with the Tigers and baseball itself. This dates back to when I was a wee lad and every now and then I would be hauled off to numerous family gatherings in the summer. Inevitably at some point during the day my Great Grandfather would amble over to the television, find the Tiger game, turn the sound down, turn the radio on WJR and crank it up. Something about Ernie's voice just drew me in. That and the fact that I thought Jack Morris was Magnum P.I. (one of my boyhood idols, along with Murdoch from the A-Team and the helicopter from Airwolf). And while I was still young enough not to realize that he didn't actually know the home town of every fan that caught a foul ball, when he was "let go" in 1991; every time I see a strike three pitch I still hear "He stood there like the house by the side of the road and watched it go by." There was just something about the way he described the game that after it was over you wanted to go out into your backyard, hit a wiffleball and bellow out "That ball is looooong gone!" So I wish you a happy birthday Ernie, with the hope of many more years of your voice providing the soundtrack to Tigers baseball.

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