The news of Ernie Harwell's death has writers all across America mourning his passing, and bringing out the best of their writing. Here's a small sampling of their words.
I'm warning you now, it may get a little "dusty" around you as you read tribute after tribute.
Ty Cobb liked Ernie Harwell, for crying out loud. Ty Cobb didn't like anybody.
He was the celebrity who never acted like one, a lifelong subscriber to the wild notion that we can and should enjoy each of our days.
Ernie was a great announcer, of course, a voice of comfort and hope for millions of Michiganders. Yet, clichéd as it may sound, he was a better person. Humble. Gracious. Kind to all. The word that comes to mind is, "gentleman."
We knew it was coming, but it still leaves us with an empty feeling. It leaves us wishing that Ernie was here to make us feel better.
I had written him an email expressing how proud I was to know him, even a little bit, and how lucky I was to call him a friend. Of course, everyone who ever listened to Ernie Harwell called him a friend. "It isn't me that people love," he said to me once, "It's baseball." But, of course, it wasn't true. People loved him.
There's more amazingly kind and thoughtful words about Ernie after the jump.
I thought Ernie Harwell would live forever.
Goodbye, Ernie. There is crying in baseball today.
When Ernie gave his Hall of Fame speech at Cooperstown in 1981, he said, "I've given a lot less to baseball than it's given to me." And what he gave me can't be replaced.
Ernie Harwell had not only remembered me, but also he treated me so well – like he'd known me forever. I came to realize that that's how Ernie treated everyone – with a smile, a handshake and feeling of longtime friendship.
What he neglected to mention was that his elegance and love of the game elevated what happened from just baseball to warm summer nights with your dad, weekend cookouts, and the best of America.
There are some people who are so nice, so welcoming, so downright pure you almost feel embarrassed to be inhabiting the same planet and breathing the same air. Ernie Harwell was such a man.
You looked forward to West Coast swings because you knew there was a chance you'd go to sleep to the sound of that voice. You'd go to sleep happy.
If America had a voice, it would sound like Ernie Harwell.
But we learned Ernie was pure and polite. We learned he was a kind, Christian man who makes time for everyone he sees. We learned that although childhood goes, and players go, and seasons go, we learned that Ernie’s voice never goes.
Maybe you always have a thing for your first love, but I think I'm being objective when I say that I have never encountered a better baseball broadcaster than Ernie Harwell.
He was Tigers baseball, and for many of the years Harwell did games in Detroit, he was the only thing worth listening to. Baseball lost another great announcer on Tuesday, but Detroit lost a member of its family.
It was always said by Tigers fans I know that part of the fun of listening to Ernie Harwell was knowing that silences were coming. When he wasn't telling you about what he was seeing, he was letting you listen to Tiger Stadium,
There's so many more, but I wanted to give you all a taste of what the rest of the nation thinks of one of our own.
I'm going to finish with one of Ernie's peers. He's the last man left from an era when broadcasters were as closely, if not more so, associated with the teams they covered as the players.
Here's Vin Scully from last night...
They don''t make 'em like Ernie and Vin anymore...and we're worse off for it.