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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A true Tiger legend

Today Emory pays homage to Ernie Harwell 40C, one of our most distinguished alumni and a Hall of Fame baseball announcer. Harwell passed away in his home last night, at the age of 92 but his legacy will not be forgotten.

Harwell was a 2003 recipient of Emory’s highest alumni honor, the Emory Medal, awarded to the University’s most distinguished graduates. During his time at Emory, Harwell was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, served as the Interfraternity Council President, and even acted as editor of The Emory Wheel.

A native of Washington, GA, Harwell is most known for his accomplishments during his 55-year career as a play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball, 42 of which were spent announcing for the Detroit Tigers. He is beloved by Tigers fans around the country and he is an icon in Michigan.

Harwell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 and is ranked 16th on the American Sportscasters Association’s list of the Top 50 Sportscasters of All Time, which was announced in January 2009. He began his career as an announcer for the minor league Atlanta Crackers in 1943. Interestingly, Harwell made baseball history in 1948 when he became the first (and only) announcer to be traded for a player.

To borrow Harwell’s customary reading with which he began the first spring training broadcast each year, from Song of Solomon 2:11-12: “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

Play ball, Ernie.

-- Drew Dotson, program coordinator, regional volunteer programs, EAA

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