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Legendary broadcaster Harwell dies

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Associated Press
May 5, 2010
— From the sandy shores of Lake Michigan to the rugged streets in Flint, they listened to Ernie Harwell tell the Tigers’ tales for more than 40 years.

Beloved by generations of baseball fans who grew up enraptured by his rich voice, Southern cadence and quirky phrases on the radio, Harwell died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 92.


The longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster died about 7:30 p.m. in his apartment at Fox Run Village and Retirement Center in the Detroit suburb of Novi, said his attorney and longtime friend, S. Gary Spicer.


His wife of 68 years, Lulu, and his two sons and two daughters were at his side, Spicer said.


“We’ll miss you, Ernie Harwell. You’ll forever be the voice of summer,” Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm tweeted.


A Hall of Fame announcer who was acquired by the Brooklyn Dodgers for a catcher in 1948, Harwell revealed in September that he’d been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the bile duct. He took the news with characteristic poise, saying he planned to continue working on a book and other projects.


“Whatever happens, I’m ready to face it,” Harwell told The Associated Press on Sept. 4, 2009.


Harwell’s body will lie in repose at Comerica Park on Thursday beginning at 7 a.m. and “until the last person who wishes to pay their respects” has done so, Spicer said.


There will be no public memorial service, and the family will hold a private funeral service at a location Spicer declined to disclose.


“All of Major League Baseball is in mourning tonight upon learning of the loss of a giant of our game,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “Without question, Ernie was one of the finest and most distinguished gentlemen I have ever met.”


Harwell spent 42 of his 55 years in broadcasting with the Tigers.


“What a voice,” said longtime Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell. “He did it with class, he did it with dignity. We shed a tear tonight, that’s for sure.”



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