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Early evening prowl: Goodbye to Ernie, the local perspective

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The Detroit Tigers blogosphere is full of good writers and even better people. The death of Ernie Harwell brought out their best.

Start by checking out Samara's artwork at Roar of the Tigers. She doesn't need words to express her sadness.

I thought it's be appropriate to begin the linkage with a post from Mlive's Cutoff Man blog, as it's written by BYB's editor emeritus, Ian Casselberry:

As sad as it was to hear about Ernie's death last night, it somehow seems appropriate that it occurred during a Tigers game. This allowed so many of us to deal with the loss of a friend among friends, to express our condolences with those who shared the same feelings and memories.

Well said. Between BYB, Twitter, Facebook, email, chat, phone and numerous other ways of social networking, it felt like the Tigers entire fanbase was in mourning, and giving support.

At The Daily Fungo, Mike reminisces about getting an autograph from Ernie at Tiger Stadium back in 1979.

I had the chance to ask a question and here’s what my nine-year-old bean came up with: Is Paul up in the booth?

Ernie replied that Paul Carey was, in fact, up in the booth preparing for the game and that he hoped I had fun at the ballpark that day. Talk about a thrill — even more thrilling than getting Jim Northrup’s autograph at my annual baseball banquet later that year. And every year on Opening Day I think of it (Ernie’s signature, not Northrup’s).

At the Mickey Tettleton Memorial Overpass, Andrew gets serious...knowing him, it means the loss of Ernie must have hit hard.

There are very few people I can honestly say that I would be happy if I could one day believe I had lived a life half as fulfilling as theirs and Ernie Harwell is one of those people. Like so many people I grew up as a second generation Tigers fan who got to listen to the greatest announcer in the history of baseball. It was a special connection to know that the same guy who was broadcasting Tigers games while my dad was listening to the World Series as a college freshman in 1968 was the same guy who was calling games while I was commuting back and forth to college as a freshman at MSU and listening to the radio in my car. It makes me sad to think that if I have a son one day he won't have the pleasure of hearing Ernie call the games or hear his corny but lovable sayings like "called out for excessive window shopping" or "two for the price of one".

At Detroit4Lyfe, Bob gives thanks.

Ernie, we allowed you to so modestly thank your fans when you retired in 2002 and again last year, so now please allow us to thank you. Thank you for having such a warm heart. Thank you for letting my father, brother, friends, and I meet you for dinner nearly 15 years ago. Thank you for treating us like your own grandkids as you'd tell your stories and then so patiently listen to us brag about our little league careers. Thank you for your daily poetry as the voice of Tigers baseball. Thank you for providing so many with their nightly bed time stories, so to speak. Thank you for your inspirational attitude towards life and death. Thank you for being the kind of person who wouldn't want any Detroit fans dwelling on your passing and the subsequent Detroit sports losses of May 4th.

Mostly, though, thank you for saying hello.

More of the local perspective after the jump.

One of the reasons east coast based Lee Panas of Tigers Tales became a Tigers fan was his listening to Ernie voice boom throughout the nation on the clear channel blowtorch that was WJR.

Harwell was my primary link to the Tigers. All throughout my childhood and college years and beyond, I battled radio static to hear him broadcast the games.

I have had many favorite players over the years - Willie Horton, Ron Leflore, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, Curtis Granderson and so many others. None of them had more to do with me becoming the avid fan I am today than Ernie though. I wouldn't be the same fan I am today without him. I am not alone, of course. Ernie was the connection to baseball for thousands of Tigers fans for 42 years.

Bill was a just fledgling blogger when he interviewed Ernie for his Detroit Tigers Weblog. He tells a story so very similar to many others.

I had the pleasure to speak with Ernie one time. He agreed to do an interview for this site (Part 1 & Part 2). It was only the second interview I’d done and I was incredibly nervous. Mr. Harwell was incredibly gracious and instantly put me at ease. As I stumbled through my questions he would start to spin an answer so eloquent that I’d forget I was the one he was actually talking to. It was like I was a kid listening to him call a game.

At Take 75 North, Matt sums up my feelings perfectly. To love the Tigers was to love Ernie.

Ernie Harwell's Hall of Fame speech has to be one of the best ever, if not the gold standard, and thought it would be a nice tribute to post it here. I found myself tearing up as I read it and I wasn't sure it was because of our loss today as Tiger fans or because of how beautifully it describes this game I love so much. That may sound disrespectful to Ernie, but if you grew up in Detroit Ernie Harwell was Tiger baseball. To love one was to love the other and I doubt there are many fans in Detroit who don't love the game more because of Harwell's contribution to it.

Ernie Harwell was not your run of the mill sportscaster, says Rogo at Designate Robertson.

Sports announcers are a dime a dozen. With so much baseball, football, hockey, or whatever on television nowadays, it seems that any schmuck with a remedial understanding of the game can get put in the announcing booth. However, there are some that become pretty good at what they do. From that group, a select few may even become great. However, it is not every day that a man becomes so great at what he does that he becomes regarded as a legend.

Ernie Harwell was a legend.

Jennifer at Old English D is as emotional as the rest of us.

There's nothing I can say here to add any new depth to what's been said and shown already. I'll just bow my head with the rest of you, swallow the lump in my throat, and swipe at a couple salty tears as they escape my lids.

From the loss of The Bird to the death of Ernie, John reminds us it's been a sad year off the field for Tigers fans at Motor City Bengals.

The past year has brought great sadness to the Tigers franchise, losing Mark Fidrych, seeing the final remnants of old Tiger Stadium reduced to rubble, and now suffering the finality of the loss of our dear friend, and in many ways our spiritual leader, Ernie Harwell.

God bless you Ernie, and your wonderful bride Lulu, as well.

I've already said my piece about Ernie at TWFE, and if you haven't yet read it, please check out what Kurt had to say last night. There's a reason he was asked to take over BYB...his take on Ernie tells us why.

Finally, here's a clip of Jim Leyland struggling to hold back tears last night.

A hat tip goes to Detroit4Lyfe for posting the clip.