Today's edition of USA Today has a feature on Ernie Harwell. It's the cover story of their sports section. Of course, it's written for a national audience, so there's plenty of stuff you may have already read or known.
But Mel Antonen talks to plenty of people around baseball to get their feelings on Harwell, such as Derek Jeter and Vin Scully. And he also has some interesting anecdotes, such as how Ernie met his wife, Lulu, which led to an entertaining quote from Harwell's friend (and agent), Gary Spicer.
Of course, there are plenty of memorable quotes from Harwell, which are both self-deprecatingly funny and - given the circumstances of Ernie's condition - rather heartbreaking. For instance:
"I've got a little old bug that works pretty fast," says Harwell, who also called games for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles from 1948 to 1959 before moving to Detroit. "The best answer to how long I have is six months, give or take a few. If I get more than three months, that'll be fine. I have serenity and comfort. God takes care of me. I worship, obey and accept the consequences."
Then, he jokes, "If I get well, people are going to think this was all a publicity stunt to get a little attention."
Only Ernie Harwell could refer to cancer as "a little old bug that works pretty fast" and draw a smile. A bittersweet one, but a smile, nonetheless.
There's also this notable quote:
"There's been too much attention paid to me, and people get tired of reading about an old guy. My mom used to say, 'Don't wear out your welcome.' And I don't want to wear out my welcome."
I think that's the first time I've ever disagreed with Ernie Harwell.