Lions remember Ernie Harwell
Last season the Lions honored Ernie Harwell as an honorary captain for the home opener against Minnesota. He received one of the loudest cheers that would be heard at Ford Field all season. That wasn’t because the Lions went 2-14, it was because Ernie Harwell was so well loved.
Ernie Harwell died on Tuesday at the age of 92. It was a huge loss for the city of Detroit. We all lost a friend.
“On behalf of the William Clay Ford family and the entire Detroit Lions organization, we extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Harwell, her family and Ernie’s extended family with the Tigers and throughout baseball,’’ Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand said in a statement Wednesday.
“Detroit not only lost a legend, but Detroit sports lost its voice. For those of us who grew up in Detroit, Ernie was as much a part of our childhood as grade school teachers and little league coaches,’’ Lewand continued.
“When you heard Ernie on that transistor radio during those hot summer nights, it was like a member of your family was talking to you. Ernie represented all that was good in sports and in life. He will be dearly missed,’’ he added.
Harwell could not have been kinder to me. My first encounter was in 1991 when I was writing a feature on him before what was to be his last game after he had been fired. I was new to being a sports writer and a little nervous. We sat in the stands hours before a game. He couldn’t have been nicer, set me at ease and gave me his home number if I had more questions. We kept in contact while I wrote a TV/radio column for several years. Once he sent me a hand-written note complimenting me on one of my columns. I still have it.
That was the thing about Ernie Harwell.
He was a friend to everyone in Detroit.
He will be missed.