Long time Detroit broadcaster Ernie Harwell passed away Tuesday at the age of 92. Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell played 20 years in Detroit and also was the manager there from 2003-05, and became very close to Harwell. Trammell said he got a call Tuesday morning to give him a heads up that Harwell’s condition was deteriorating quickly.
“What a gentleman, what a great person,” Trammell said Tuesday. “It’s a sad day for baseball, not just for the people in Detroit or Michigan. He treated everybody with a quality that very few have — everybody was the same, whether you’re the president or somebody on the street. That’s a quality not too many people have.”
Trammell called another ex-Tiger Kirk Gibson Tuesday to tell him that Harwell was failing. The three were together at an appearance in December and able to laugh then and share memories.
“He was very sharp then,” Trammell said. “I did hear of late that his health was declining and that he was ready. I think we all know where he’s going.”
Trammell never really had a chance to listen to Harwell’s broadcasts — he was always playing. But he does know the voice.
“What a voice,” Trammell said. “Any great announcer, the first thing that comes to mind is the voice and really painting a picture of the game. I’m a little older and remember growing up and listening to games on the radio. I don’t think kids nowadays are as much in tune as we were. I grew up listening to games on the radio. Kirk, growing up in Michigan, [listening to] Ernie Harwell, going to bed with the transistor radio on, that kind of thing. Those are the good old days.
“Very sad. But that being said, I can speak for Ernie saying, he didn’t want us to be sad. He’s had a great life, and he has.”
— Carrie Muskat