Home > Celebrities, In the News, Sports, Uncategorized > Ernie Harwell: A legend and friend who will be missed

Ernie Harwell: A legend and friend who will be missed

The statue of Ernie Harwell that stands at Comerica Park in Detroit.

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.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12, a quote from the bible Ernie Harwell would also begin the first spring training broadcast of each season with.

The only thing stopping my eyes from overflowing with tears right now is the fact that I’ve been expecting the news for quite some time now.

A friend of mine, and a human being adored by more people than I could possibly count, died tonight. You’ve likely heard of him. His name was Ernie Harwell.

I was fortunate enough to have Ernie as a friend, something that came about because a mutual friend of ours, Jack Lessenberry, introduced us. From that point on, we consistently exchanged communications and made a point of seeing one another. For me, having grown up listening to Ernie call the games for my beloved Detroit Tigers, it was a dream come true. For Ernie, well, I never asked but I hope it was something he enjoyed as well.

When I heard the news that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, I called Ernie.

The conversation was short. I wished him well, offered to him the typical “if there’s anything I can do for you or Lulu, just let me know” and he told me to take care of myself.

“In my almost 92 years on this Earth, the good Lord has blessed me with a great journey,” Harwell said at a microphone behind home plate during a game in which the Tigers honored their long-time radio announcer. “The blessed part of that journey is that it’s going to end here in the great state of Michigan.”

That journey came to an end in Novi. In the same building where I first met Ernie.

He told me once that I was lucky. He had always wanted to be a newspaper writer when he first started out chasing the dream of covering sports. I had told him I loved writing, and he said that was what mattered most.

Though I knew one day it would happen, I guess I never sat back and thought about how hard it would be to put pen to paper and express in words how I felt the day that someone I respected so much left my life for good.

He was an inspiration. He was loved. He was amazing.

And I’m going to miss him. We all are.

I don’t know if there’s a heaven or not. I’m not qualified to make a theological debate about it. But, what I do know, and I know this in the very fiber of my soul, that if there is one then Ernie Harwell is there. He’s probably sitting back, adjusting his cap, and calling a strong swing by Babe Ruth. The bat boasts a thundering jolt as the ball rockets out of the stadium.

“That ball’s loooonnngggg gone!”

Thanks for everything, Ernie.

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