A moment of silence, please, for Ernie Harwell, the longtime Detroit Tigers announcer and one of the greatest ever to call the game, who died last night from cancer. He was 92. He was with the Tigers for 42 seasons, most of them on the radio.
Harwell's link to St. Louis is tenuous, it's true -- though he was at the mike during the 1968 World Series when the Tigers defeated the Cards in seven games -- but a town that loves its broadcasters the way St. Louis does should be able to spare a little sympathy today for Detroit (and, really, the entire state of Michigan). As Joe Buck once said, "Listen to that voice, man. That's baseball."
OK, here's one connection for all you sticklers out there: Harwell was hired to be the play-by-play man for the beleaguered Browns...in 1954, the year they moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles.
And another: Harwell began his career as the Atlanta correspondent for the then-St. Louis-based Sporting News.
The Detroit Free Press ran a great obit of Harwell today. King Kaufman wrote a lovely tribute in 2002, Harwell's last season in the broadcast booth. (Kaufman reports on Harwell's last home game at Comerica Park. The Tigers are playing the Royals: another Missouri connection.)