Ernie Harwell

For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

For 55 years, Ernie Harwell has opened the baseball season with these words of spring's rebirth. Harwell, who retired at the end of the 2002 season, was baseball's longest enduring broadcaster and one of the game's favorite sons. "He is loved by everybody and rightfully so. He's a great broadcaster but even better a person," said former Tiger catcher Bill Freehan.

Harwell began his career working for WSB in Atlanta in 1940 calling the games of the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern League. In 1948, Harwell landed the Brooklyn Dodgers job before stints in New York and Baltimore. In 1960, he took over the Detroit Tigers booth, and would spend the next 42 years as the voice of the Tigers. Harwell was mysteriously fired in 1992, but fan outrage had him back in the booth the next season.

His unmistakeable voice, simple style, and fast-paced play-by-play earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1981. He was the first active announcer to be inducted. Harwell made the television call of Bobby Thompson's famous "Shot heard round the world," and was actually once traded for a backup catcher. After 55 years in the booth, there is nothing Harwell has not seen.

Ernie Harwell
1948-1949 Brooklyn Dodgers
1950-1953 New York Giants
1954-1959 Baltimore Orioles
1960-1991 Detroit Tigers
1992-1993 California Angels
1993-2002 Detroit Tigers
Hall of Fame 1981

*Sources
http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/det/history/harwell/det_history_feature_harwell.jsp
http://drake.marin.k12.ca.us/students/friedmad/announce/Harwell.html
Harwell, Ernie. The Babe Signed My Shoe. 1994.

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