92 year-old Ernie Harwell succumbed to bile duct cancer Tuesday at his home in Novi, Michigan with his wife Lulu by his side. Now, I apologize for not being a little more creative with my lead, but a lot is going to be written about the passing of Harwell and, frankly, it should.
You’re going to read headlines about “the voice of the Tigers” being “silenced” or as I put it in my headline…”signing off”.
You see, Harwell was a lot of things to a lot of different people. He was a broadcaster, a Hall of Famer…a legend. He did, as one writer I stumbled upon tonight “painted pictures for the fans”.
But also, he was, apparently, a “good guy”.
No, seriously…my Grandfather told me that once and he didn’t come to that conclusion via Facebook, Twitter or even by watching old Tigers broadcasts.
He went fishing with the man.
Probably 15 years ago, my Grandfather had a chance to go fishing with Harwell through a friend of his from church…former Major Leaguer Andy McGaffigan.
Shortly after I got a letter in the mail.
It simply said: “Went fishing with Ernie Harwell. Good guy. Grandpa”
I immediately called him and grilled him about his meeting with the legendary broadcaster.
I asked him up and down about what they talked about…hoping that the stories I would have wanted to hear were shared to my Grandfather that day in McGaffigan’s boat.
I was told they talked fishing and church…that was it.
It does make sense though, considering that the last thing I want to talk about when I am out spending a relaxing weekend with friends is work. But still…you have to wonder about the stories that could have been told.
A lot is going to be said about Harwell now that he’s gone, but regardless of how many tributes are aired on TV and radio or pop up in print or on the internet…I’ll know him simply as a “good guy”.
My Grandfather said so.