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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Goodbye Ernie

I’m sure there are a lot of folks blogging about Ernie Harwell today. Millions of people knew Ernie. Most of them thought they just knew him from his work because they had never met him in person.  They were wrong.  I started my adult life in the radio business. I did some time at WPON in Pontiac. My desk was at the front door, so I was the person who greeted anyone that showed up.

One day Ernie and George Kell came in as guests for one of our talk shows. While they were waiting to go on the air, Ernie started up a conversation with me. He asked me what I did at the station and how I liked it. He told me a story about his early days in radio. To be honest, I can’t remember the story. I was mesmerized by how exactly like the Ernie Harwell I knew from the Tiger broadcasts he was like in person. I couldn’t believe that a man could project himself so accurately while doing play by play and talking shop about baseball on the air.

If you didn’t meet him, you’ll have to take my word for it – he was the friendliest, kindest man I ever knew for five minutes. Yesterday was the bottom of the ninth of the last game of the last season for Ernie. The planet is a little darker for his passing. So long, Ernie.
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