“Baseball is the President tossing out the first ball of the season and a scrubby schoolboy playing catch with his dad on a Mississippi farm. A tall, thin old man waving a scorecard from the corner of his dugout. That’s baseball.”—Ernie Harwell in his Induction Day Speech (August 2, 1981)


Quotes from Ernie Harwell

“Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”

“God blessed me by putting me here for thirty-one years at Michigan and Trumbull. I had (after being “released”) the greatest job in the world—a job I loved to do. But most of all, I appreciate you fans. I appreciate your loyalty, your support and your love that you’ve shown me, especially the love.” (September 30, 1991)

“I had a job to do, and I did it all these years to the best of my ability. That’s what I’d like to leave behind as I finish my final game in Toronto.”

“I’d like to be remembered as someone who showed up for the job. I consider myself a worker. I love what I do. If I had my time over again, I’d probably do it for nothing.”

“If I walked back into the booth in the year 2025, I don’t think it would have changed much. I think baseball would be played and managed pretty much the same as it is today. It’s a great survivor.”

“I love the game because it’s so simple, yet it can be so complex. There’s a lot of layers to it, but they aren’t hard to peel back.”

“I think I owe thanks to the people who have listened to me over the years, who tuned in on the radio. They have given me a warmth and loyalty that I’ve never been able to repay. The way they have reached out to me has certainly been the highlight of my life.”

“I think once you start as an announcer, you have to decide what kind of approach you’re going to have. I decided very early that I was going to be a reporter, that I would not cheer for the team. I don’t denigrate people who do it. It’s fine. I think you just have to fit whatever kind of personality you have, and I think my nature was to be more down the middle and that’s the way I conducted the broadcasts.”

“So much happened (in 1968) it was hard to keep up with everything. We had Denny McLain’s thirty-one victories, Gates Brown’s great pinch-hitting in the clutch, Tom Matchick’s home run to beat Baltimore in the ninth inning, then Daryl Patterson striking out the side to beat them in the ninth. Excitement every day in the ballpark.”

“The greatest single moment I’ve ever known in Detroit was Jim Northrup’s triple in the seventh game of the World Series in St. Louis. It was a stunning moment because not only were the Tigers winning a world championship that meant so much to an entire city, they were beating the best pitcher I ever saw—Bob Gibson.”

“Wheaties was the big sponsor in those days (1940s). They sponsored almost all the baseball games in the majors and the minors. That was a lot of Wheaties. I think there were twenty-four boxes in a case and some of these guys were hitting twenty-five and thirty home runs a season. We had a dog in those days named Blue Grass and the players used to give us their Wheaties for him. Blue Grass loved Wheaties and so did I.”


Quotes about Ernie Harwell

“Ernie Harwell stands, as much as anybody as I can think of, as a positive representative of what the game of baseball should and does stand for. His memory will be long lasting and the quality of man he is will never diminish.”—Detroit Tigers Catcher Bill Freehan

“Ernie (Harwell) is probably the most beloved person who has ever been in Detroit with the Detroit Tigers. He is loved by everybody and rightfully so. He’s a great broadcaster but even a better person. That comes across on his broadcasts.”—Hall of Famer Al Kaline

“His prodigious resume had one noticeable blank. He never broadcast a perfect game. But he broadcast thousands of games perfectly.”—David Enders of the Detroit Free Press (September 30, 2002)

“If I have a few positives I’m going to take out of this year, meeting Ernie (Harwell) is definitely going to be at the top. It was pretty emotional. If he didn’t tug at your heart when he was out there talking about the people who meant to him, his lifetime commitment to his wife, his devotion to God, it was pretty touching. I got a little choked up.”—Tigers Infielder Damian Jackson

“I think you have to take Ernie’s career in context with the city. The city is a blue-collar city primarily. That being said, that means there are a lot of core values. I know that sounds like a cliche. Detroit is not a New York, it’s not a Chicago or a San Francisco. Normally, I think that means people look for consistency. Ernie has been consistent in that if anyone were to have studied his style, they’ll discover that he has been the same over the years. He didn’t try to go in one direction one year and a new direction the other year. And that consistency kind of created, whether intentional or not, the expectations of the fans. By not varying his style, he established a loyal following. Detroit was a staple for the game. They were very well-known for the quality of the organization. That’s kind of what Ernie was. He called the game by what he saw.”—Tigers Public Relations Director Dan Ewald

“Somehow he brings the proper pitch and phrasing to a whole season, with a rhythm and pacing that only a select few have ever commanded. In many ways a Harwell broadcast is profoundly musical, as befits a man who has published fifty-five songs with composers such as Johnny Mercer. Many an announcer has aspired to sounding as if talking to a friend in his living room, but Harwell effortlessly establishes the same rapport on the air as he does in person.”—Baseball Author Bruce Shlain

“You can never give the score too many times. He never put himself above the game. For a lot of guys now, it’s become a show business-type thing. Ernie always kept the focus on baseball.”—Detroit Tigers Television Broadcaster Mario Impemba

“When you think of the Detroit Tigers, you think of Ernie Harwell. Like the speakers said, there’s certain teams that have certain voices attached to them. The Cubs have Haray Caray. The Tigers have Ernie Harwell.”—Tigers pitcher Jason Beverlin

“We need to understand today and each day left in the 2002 season that we are truly privileged to see through his eyes and hear his calm and reassuring voice. His effortless brilliance masks countless hours of preparation. Let us understand, appreciate and be joyous for our time with him.”—Tigers President John McHale

“Whether talking about the pitching style of Mickey Lolich with picturesque adjectives or the majesty of an Al Kaline home run with his signature call of ‘loooong gone,’ Harwell’s vivid descriptions of games have earned him the respect of fans and his peers.”—Radio Hall of Fame

He has demonstrated a standard of accuracy and reliability, with a distinctive style of play-by-play and a love for the game that has earned him the respect of all. It is with great pride that the American Sportscasters Association inducts Ernie Harwell into the Sportscasters Hall of Fame.”

Source: Baseball-Almanac

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