Ernie Harwell was the long-time voice of the Detroit Tigers. He began his career with the Tigers in 1960 and, with the exception of 1992, when he worked for the California Angels, his voice is synonymous with Motor City baseball.
Harwell was born on January 25, 1918, in Washington, Georgia, and is a graduate of Emory University. During World War II, he served four years in the Marines.
Harwell began his career as a radio commentator on Atlanta’s WSB in 1940. After working for the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association, he made it to the big leagues in 1948, when he began broadcasting games for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He later did play-by-play for the New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles before moving to the Detroit Tigers in 1960.
Whether talking about the pitching style of Mickey Lolich with picturesque adjectives or the majesty of an Al Kaline home run with his signature call of “loooong gone,” Harwell’s vivid descriptions of games have earned him the respect of fans and his peers.
His excellence at the microphone has been rewarded with numerous trips to the post-season, including the broadcasting of the first American League Championship Series and three World Series.
Ernie Harwell was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1998.
Harwell died on May 4, 2010 in Novi, Michigan. He was 92.