A summer outdoors in Michigan always included a fishing rod and Ernie Harwell's voice on the transistor radio
Last night, I lost a piece of my childhood. Ernie Harwell, the Hall of Fame radio voice of Detroit Tigers baseball for 42 seasons, died of cancer at the age of 92.
You see, Mr. Harwell was the voice on the transistor radio every summer night of my youth. He WAS summer in Michigan across Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior.
Whether I was fishing for smallies in the Ford River, paddling McKeever Lake in search of a musky, or bottom-bouncing Little Bay de Noc's drop-off; Ernie Harwell provided the soundtrack of summer in Michigan.
My job prior to joining Pheasants Forever was with the Saint Paul Saints Baseball Club. That job in baseball created the good fortune enabling me to meet Mr. Harwell on two occasions during Tigers' visits to the Metrodome for Minnesota Twins' games. On one of those occasions, I was even allowed to sit in the radio booth for an inning as Mr. Harwell broadcast the game. The consummate gentleman, he even gave a shout out to my hometown of Escanaba, Michigan during that broadcast.
Today, I am joining friends at Target Field for the Tigers & Twins matinee game, but my mind will be in a fishing boat as a 9 year old rocking with the waves as my Mom, Dad and brother listen to Ernie tell us how "he stood there like the house on the side of the road and watched that one go by," or how my childhood hero Alan Trammell's drive to deep centerfield is "Looooonng Gone!"
I've got a bite Dad. It's a big one. Get the net!