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 Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column

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bobrob2004
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PostSubject: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:29 am

I'm going to use this thread to post articles from Ernie Harwell's weekly column. Today's article...

Ernie Harwell: Baseball terms had interesting origins
BY ERNIE HARWELL • FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER • April 21, 2008

As Tigers broadcasters, my partners and I received a lot of mail. Some of it was kind. The rest, we turned over to the FBI.

There were all kinds of suggestions. The most popular involved the microphone and where we could jam it -- a physical impossibility. I took a lot of kidding about my interest in baseball history, especially references to the origin of baseball terms.

For instance, how did "charley horse" and "bullpen" get started?

"Charley horse" entered baseball's lexicon this way. Pop Anson's Chicago White Stockings in the mid-1880s took a day off from their schedule to visit the racetrack. Several players bet on a horse named Charlie, which pulled up lame in the stretch and lost.

The next day, in pregame practice, one of the White Sox players suffered a leg cramp and began to limp.

"Hey," said one of his unsympathetic teammates. "Look at him. Just like that horse Charlie. He's got a Charlie Horse."

The term "bullpen" has a couple of explanations about its beginning. One is that the term started because the pitchers warmed up under the Bull Durham tobacco sign. (There seemed to be one in every baseball park in America.)

Another is that it came from the cattlemen out West. The pitchers who were called into the game for relief duty were compared to bulls being brought in for slaughter. Thus, the place they came from was called the bullpen.

You can take your choice of those versions.

Then there's the old expression, "Hooray for our side."

This goes back to Lady Godiva. Remember, she rode through the streets of Coventry, England, in protest of high taxes. She not only rode bareback -- in the true sense of the word -- but she rode sidesaddle, attracting a large crowd of men who jammed the sidewalks for a good look.

As Lady Godiva rode down the street, an enthusiastic looker on the side she faced yelled out for all to hear, "Hooray for our side."

Yes, it's strange, isn't it, how baseball terms originated?


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:20 pm

Ernie Harwell: Yankees coach has Tigers roots

Aformer Tigers farmhand will be a key figure in the Yankees dugout when Detroit plays at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. He is 44-year-old bench coach Rob Thomson, who knows more about the Tigers than any other Yankee.

Thomson's specialized, spy-like talent stems from his experience with the Yankees as a field coordinator and video expert. Beginning in 2004, manager Joe Torre assigned him that duty. After Torre left in the off-season to become manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, successor Joe Girardi named Thomson bench coach.

Before this season was a week old, Thomson had become a Yankees manager. Before the game of April 4, Girardi was suffering with an upper-respiratory infection. He called Thomson into his office and told him to manage that night against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I was excited," Thomson told me in a phone conversation. "But once the game started, I was so focused, I settled down."

Girardi stayed in his office during the game, but Thomson sneaked in occasionally to consult his manager. Girardi was too ill to manage the next game, and again Thomson took over. When the Yanks lost both games, Rob had to face some good-natured ribbing from the players.

Thomson didn't realize it at the time, but his two-game managerial career was making history. Jim Cressman, in the London (Ontario) Free Press, wrote it was the first time a Canadian had managed a major league game since George Gibson of London with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1934.

Rob Thomson grew up in Corunna, Ontario, an avid Tigers fan. He had two older brothers, Tom and Rick. Tom was a catcher for a short time for Quebec City in the Montreal Expos organization.

Rob was a catcher, too. He was the Tigers' 32nd-round draft pick in 1985. George Bradley had scouted him and signed him for Detroit. After Bradley switched his front-office expertise to the Yankees, he guided Rob into that organization.

Thomson caught three years in the Tigers system, ending his playing career at Lakeland. It was there in 1988 he first coached -- for manager Johnny Lipon. After a year as a coach for manager Chris Chambliss at London, Thomson left the Tigers to become third-base coach and hitting instructor with Ft. Lauderdale -- the first of his 19 years in the Yankees organization.

Thomson cherishes his boyhood days as a Tigers fan. His dad, Jack, often took Rob and his brothers to watch the Tigers. Jack, who ran a construction business, was thrilled when Rob joined the Detroiters.

Now, Rob is a Yankee, with four World Series rings. As their bench coach this week, he'll use his baseball knowledge and experience to compete against the favorite team of his boyhood.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon May 12, 2008 11:28 am

Ernie Hawell: Not all fun and games as superstars carry heavy burdens

Don't envy the modern baseball star.

When fans look at the big bucks, the fancy lifestyle and personal perks of stardom, they wish they could achieve the same glorified status. But, don't be too quick to dream of living like the rich superstar. There are many negatives that come with his much-envied territory.

I believe the star of today's baseball world has a tougher existence than his counterpart of the past. In the 1920s, 30s and 40s, big league headliners existed in a simpler environment. TV had not burst upon the scene. There was no talk radio. Sports writers simply covered each game and did not consider themselves investigative reporters.

In those days, a few superstars were rich. But the average big leaguer augmented his salary with an off-season job. Today, even the most unnoticed utilityman can afford to use his off-season to advantage. He can rest, travel or spend time conditioning. Many of today's athletes build gyms and maintain a personal trainer. When they report for spring training, they are already in top condition. But the player of the past, after working all winter, needed spring training to whip himself into shape for the coming season.

There's no doubt the modern star maintains a lifestyle we all might want to strive for. But there are negatives that loom large for today's baseball player. Big money, public envy and intense media attention have combined to put tremendous pressure on the big-time star. This is a pressure much more severe than in the past.

Much of it began to develop with TV. In the past, a game was reported with a newspaper story and a box score. Now, TV and radio cover every game. Mistakes are magnified. Talk radio's overanalysis of every fault puts extra pressure on the player.

Like any celebrity of modern times, the baseball star is exposed to microscopic inspection. Not only do members of the media examine his play on the field, but they rake through his personal life as if he were a presidential candidate.

So, the life of a baseball star is reduced to two categories -- perks or pressure. It's a great life -- one to be envied -- but it comes with a cost.

Take the case of Juan Gonzalez, the superstar the Tigers acquired from Texas to swing his big bat and charm the club's long-suffering fans. Juan had his own entourage -- a trainer, personal business manager and spiritual adviser. They all traveled with the big star.

Gonzalez never fit the vastness of the new Comerica Park or the rest of the city. He hated Detroit and quickly moved on -- a complete bust. His career never recovered, and he left baseball at a fairly early age.

Gonzalez enjoyed the perks. But the pressure did him wrong.

Yes, we can envy the big stars. But, remember, there is always a heavy personal cost for baseball celebrity.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon May 12, 2008 11:29 am

Who's Ernie Harwell?
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon May 12, 2008 11:30 am

gdennis59 wrote:
Who's Ernie Harwell?

Jaw Drop


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon May 12, 2008 11:34 am

Yeah, I know, hit me.
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon May 12, 2008 11:42 am

gdennis59 wrote:
Yeah, I know, hit me.

You seriously don't know? He was the voice of the Tigers broadcasting Tigers games over the radio for 40 some years. He has a statue at the front gate of Comerica Park. He now writes weekly articles for the Free Press. He has also written several books. Still going strong at the age of 90, Ernie Harwell is a Detroit Legend!



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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 20, 2008 2:16 pm

Ernie Harwell: Steve Dalkowski was true Wild Thing

When I was broadcasting in Baltimore in 1957, I began to hear stories about Steve Dalkowski, a pitching phenom in the Orioles' farm system.
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Dalkowski was a stocky, little left-hander (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) who didn't look like your usual hot-shot prospect. He wore glasses as thick as the bottom of a Coke bottle. But he could throw harder than anybody in baseball history.

Yet, Dalkowski never reached the major leagues. His walk and wild-pitch totals exceeded his strikeouts. He was the phenom who failed.

My memory of Dalkowski is watching Orioles pitching coach Harry Brecheen trying to harness the youngster's wildness. I saw Steve in the bullpen, throwing his 110 m.p.h. pitch into the dirt or over the catcher's head. Manager Paul Richards -- who made Dalkowski his special project -- assigned an extra player to back up the catcher whenever Dalkowski warmed up. Brecheen, Richards and all others who tried could never cure his wildness.

In 1963, after eight years in the minors, Steve almost reached the majors. Orioles manager Billy Hitchcock told him he had made the club at the end of spring training. Steve was even fitted for a major league uniform. But that afternoon, pitching in relief against the Yankees, Dalkowski injured his left elbow. Never recovering from his injury, he had missed his big chance. After one more year, Baltimore released him and he wandered into obscurity.

Yet, whenever fast pitchers are discussed, Steve Dalkowski heads the list. Ted Williams faced him once in spring training. "He is the fastest ever," Ted said. "I never want to face him again."

In his nine-year minor league career, Steve was 46-80. He fanned 1,396 batters and walked 1,354 in 995 innings.

Herm Starrette, his coach at Reno said a normal game for Steve was seven innings, 18 strikeouts and l5 walks.

Here are some remarkable Dalkowski feats:

• Threw a no-hitter, walking 18 and striking out 20.

• Tore off a batter's ear with a wild pitch.

• Broke the mask of home-plate umpire Doug Harvey in three places.

• Threw a ball through a wooden fence.

• Hit a batter in the on-deck circle.

• Heaved a ball from deep centerfield over the press box.

• Made six consecutive wild pitches.

• Used 283 pitches in a complete game.

• Left a game after 120 pitches in two innings.

After Dalkowski departed from baseball, he was a lost soul.

Because of a drinking addiction he couldn't hold a job. He became a migrant farm laborer for almost 30 years. His health failed and was eventually diagnosed with dementia.

The last I heard, he was living in a nursing home in New Britain, Conn.

Like his pitches, Dalkowski's life was wild and uncontrollable. Although, he never pitched a major league game, his reputation reached the movies. Writer-director Ron Shelton, who also played in the Orioles' farm system, modeled the unpredictable Nuke LaLoosh in "Bull Durham" after Dalkowski.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Wed May 21, 2008 1:21 am

Good article!


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Wed May 21, 2008 1:36 am

gdennis59 wrote:
Yeah, I know, hit me.
Head Slap

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWJP0ePHlkM A dedication to Tiger Stadium by Ernie Harwell
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 1:06 pm

Ernie Harwell: And now, a word from ...

The announcer's strident voice demands our attention, "This broadcast is brought to you by: Morton's Cutglass Fly-Swatter, You get all the breaks, and by: Finkell's Fur-lined Syrup Pitcher, We always stick by you. And by ..." and on and on through a list of almost 20 sponsors.
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No broadcast can happen without sponsors. There used to be only one per game. Now, there are many. Even after the billboard (TV-ese for the opening salvo), they keep on coming. There are sponsors for the lineups, stolen bases, pitching changes -- almost any happening within the game.

We, as listeners, can do nothing about it. Airing a baseball game costs money. Equipment, announcers, directors, engineers -- all kinds of production people are involved. All of them have to be paid.

In the beginning of baseball broadcasting, there were no sponsors. Ty Tyson, the great Tigers pioneer announcer, told me that when his station, WWJ, had Mobil Oil as its first sponsor in the mid-20s, he made no commercial announcements during the game. "At the start of the broadcast," he told me, "I would say, 'This game is brought to you by the Flying Red Horse.' Then, when it was over, I would sign off with 'This game has been brought to you by the Flying Red Horse.' That was my only mention of our sponsor."

The first World Series broadcast was in 1921, but the Classic didn't have a sponsor until 1934, when commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis negotiated a four-year deal with Ford Motor Co. for $400,000.

After Ford took the first step, other World Series sponsors followed. Then, the regular-season games of each team began to find sponsorships. Baseball soon became an outstanding commercial vehicle.

However, some club owners refused to air their games and fought to keep baseball off the air because they feared the broadcasts would hurt attendance.

Strangely enough, New York, the most aggressive of all cities and the center of world communications, was the No. 1 offender. In 1934, the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers joined in a pact to bar baseball broadcasts. In 1939, Dodgers executive Larry MacPhail broke that pact and all three New York clubs began to broadcast -- something Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and other cities had been doing for years.

Modern science now enables us to hear baseball broadcasts anywhere in the world. And everywhere the broadcasts go, sponsors go along with them. It's a far cry from the time when Ty Tyson, without a sponsor, pioneered baseball broadcasting in Detroit.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 7:43 pm

GO ERNIE!
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 7:47 pm

I Heart Ernie Nod
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 7:54 pm

Ernie Rules!
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 7:54 pm

I wish he come out of retirement and do the games on the radio again
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 7:55 pm

Oh I know, me too!
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 7:57 pm

Ernie always gave you the score!



Why is that so hard for Price and Dickerson?
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 9:00 pm

fur-lined syrup pitcher?
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 9:20 pm

:shrug:
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 10:20 pm

laprimamirala wrote:
fur-lined syrup pitcher?

You mean you don't have one??? LMAO


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 10:27 pm

I've only been in Michigan 5 years and I don't have one!
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue May 27, 2008 10:30 pm

laprimamirala wrote:
I've only been in Michigan 5 years and I don't have one!

It has to be a Michigan thing... we don't have them in Ohio!, come to think of it, I never heard of it in Garden City, Michigan! Must be a Detroit thing! LMAO


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Wed May 28, 2008 1:43 am

I don't!
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:10 pm

This is only a week behind...

Ernie Harwell: Goofy trades not new in baseball

BY ERNIE HARWELL • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • June 2, 2008

Here's an item to put on the Goofy Baseball Trades list.

A few days ago, the Calgary Vipers swapped pitcher John Odom to a Laredo, Texas, team for 10 baseball bats.

The Tigers made this list in 1905. Detroit owed spring training rent to Augusta, Ga. They paid the debt by leaving pitcher Ed Cicotte (later a star with the Chicago Black Sox) with the Augusta team.

The St. Louis Browns pulled the same kind of deal in 1913, leaving Buzzy Wares with the Montgomery, Ala., team for spring training rental.

Another player was exchanged for a fence. He was Hall of Famer Lefty Grove, then with Martinsburg, W.Va. Baltimore Orioles owner Jack Dunn discovered that Martinsburg owed money for construction of an outfield fence. He offered to pay the debt, and Martinsburg let the Orioles take Grove in exchange.

Hunger caused some of the strangest trades.

Wichita Falls, Texas, traded Euel Moore for a plate of beans. Dallas sent Joe Martina to New Orleans for two barrels of oysters. Hence, the pitcher's nickname, "Oyster Joe." And San Francisco shipped Jack Fenton to Memphis for a box of prunes.

My favorite food trade was pulled off by the irrepressible Joe Engel , president of the Chattanooga Lookouts. In 1931, Joe swapped his shortstop, Johnny Jones, to Charlotte, N.C., for a Thanksgiving turkey. He then served the turkey to the writers who covered his team.

Even Cy Young, baseball's winningest pitcher, made the goofy trades list. Young was so lightly regarded as a rookie that his first team -- Canton, Ohio -- peddled him to Cleveland for a suit of clothes. In those days, a suit probably cost no more than $10.

Speaking of money, here's the topper.

Willis Hudlin made the cleverest trade of all. He retired in 1940 after pitching 15 years in the big leagues -- every season but one with the Cleveland Indians. He then became a pitcher and part-owner of the Little Rock Travelers in the Southern League. In 1944, owner Hudlin traded pitcher Hudlin to the St. Louis Browns. He pitched only two innings for the Browns and had an 0-1 record. But the Browns won the pennant that season, and Hudlin received a World Series share. That winter, owner Hudlin of Little Rock bought back pitcher Hudlin from the Browns and kept the change.

There's one more goofy trade. In 1948, the Brooklyn Dodgers sent their Montreal catcher, Cliff Dapper, to the Atlanta Crackers for the Atlanta announcer. His name is at the top of this column.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:11 am

Quote :
John Odom to a Laredo, Texas, team for 10 baseball bats.

That's reasonable, balls were expensive! No throwing away a ball each time a bat hits it, back then!

Quote :
The Tigers made this list in 1905. Detroit owed
spring training rent to Augusta, Ga. They paid the debt by leaving
pitcher Ed Cicotte

Either high rent owed or bad pitcher!

Quote :
Hall of Famer Lefty Grove, then with
Martinsburg, W.Va. Baltimore Orioles owner Jack Dunn discovered that
Martinsburg owed money for construction of an outfield fence. He
offered to pay the debt, and Martinsburg let the Orioles take Grove in
exchange.

Wow, a hall of fame quality player for fence. But then again, fence was expensive back then!

Quote :
Wichita Falls, Texas, traded Euel Moore for a plate of beans.

That's bad! whistle

Quote :
Joe Martina to New Orleans for two barrels of oysters. Hence, the pitcher's nickname, "Oyster Joe."

Watch what ya eat, if too expensive, you may get traded and get a new name! LMAO

Quote :
And San Francisco shipped Jack Fenton to Memphis for a box of prunes.

Someone must have really been constipated! :shrug:

Quote :
In 1931, Joe swapped his shortstop, Johnny
Jones, to Charlotte, N.C., for a Thanksgiving turkey. He then served
the turkey to the writers who covered his team.

Wow, I've heard of eating crow!

Quote :
Even Cy Young, baseball's winningest pitcher,
made the goofy trades list. Young was so lightly regarded as a rookie
that his first team -- Canton, Ohio -- peddled him to Cleveland for a
suit of clothes. In those days, a suit probably cost no more than $10.

Poor Cy Young!

Quote :
Willis Hudlin made the cleverest trade of all.
He retired in 1940 after pitching 15 years in the big leagues -- every
season but one with the Cleveland Indians. He then became a pitcher and
part-owner of the Little Rock Travelers in the Southern League. In
1944, owner Hudlin traded pitcher Hudlin to the St. Louis Browns. He
pitched only two innings for the Browns and had an 0-1 record. But the
Browns won the pennant that season, and Hudlin received a World Series
share. That winter, owner Hudlin of Little Rock bought back pitcher
Hudlin from the Browns and kept the change.

I love it!

Quote :
In 1948, the Brooklyn Dodgers sent their
Montreal catcher, Cliff Dapper, to the Atlanta Crackers for the Atlanta
announcer. His name is at the top of this column.

Catcher Dapper for Announcer Harwell... Must have really wanted Ernie! But then again, he is worth it!


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–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:00 pm

ERNIE HARWELL
Litwhiler pushed for pitch's speed

June 30, 2008

It started in September 1974, with a photograph in the Michigan State student newspaper, The State News. Today, the radar gun to measure pitching speed is -- for better or for worse -- an integral part of the game.
Advertisement

MSU baseball coach Danny Litwhiler conceived the idea after seeing a picture of a campus cop with a device to catch speeders. Over the years, Danny built a reputation as the Thomas Edison of baseball with his many original ideas and inventions. He saw this as another project -- the first accurate method to check baseball velocity.

Litwhiler recalls the gun's origin in his book, "Living the Baseball Dream."

"I knew the commander of the campus police, Adam Zutaut," he said. "I called him and asked if the gun could check the speed of a baseball. He said he didn't know, but would find out. Soon, he was at our baseball field. I had a catcher and two pitchers, a right-hander and a left-hander, waiting."

Litwhiler and Zutaut found that, in a primitive way, the gun was capable of measuring the speed of a pitch. Danny began his fine-tuning with the goal of producing a prototype.

His next move was to contact baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn. "I told him that I didn't want any one club to have the gun, but hoped that all professional and amateur teams would use it," Danny said.

Kuhn notified the pro teams and within a week or two, Danny received phone calls, letters and telegrams asking about his new idea.

Litwhiler next approached his friend, John Paulson, developer of the JUGS pitching machine, to ask him if he could produce the speed gun. Paulson quickly developed a prototype.

In 1975, Litwhiler took the prototype to the Orioles' spring training camp in Miami. He showed it to manager Earl Weaver, who was immediately enthusiastic about the idea. Next, he displayed the gun to Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst, who became another convert.

Soon, Danny's invention became standard equipment for managers, scouts, and college and pro teams all over the world. It proved to be the first true way to measure the speed of a pitch. Today, no baseball man can do without it.

Danny Litwhiler's inventing days are over. He is retired and living in Clearwater, Fla.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:36 am

GO MSU AND CONGRATS TO Danny Litwhiler!


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:20 am



Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame broadcaster and legend Ernie Harwell came to the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday August 21, 2007. (ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press)

Posted: Dec. 25, 2009
Ernie Harwell's Christmas card to all of Detroit
Ailing Tigers icon says kindness 'touched my heart'

BY ERNIE HARWELL
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Christmastime in the Harwell household always has meant that my wife, Lulu, did the heavy lifting and my job was the sending of the greeting cards. These cards were to express our thanks for the loyalty and support of our friends.

This year, I'm not sending cards. Last July, doctors gave me only six months (more or less) to live. That was five months ago. I am still hanging around. But, while getting ready for my new adventure, I'm not dying to send out cards.

However, my friends at the Free Press are allowing me use of this space to thank all of you who have reached out to me and my family since the announcement of my illness. I can't answer 10,000 cards and letters with a personal note, so I have to do it the easy way.

Robert Browning was a great poet but didn't know much about baseball. He once wrote, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" That's a great outlook on life, but I'm sure Jim Leyland would rather see his outfielder catch and hold onto a fly ball than have his reach exceed his grasp.

Anyway, you folks have reached out to me in so many ways. Your encouraging words, your prayers and your gifts have touched my heart. You've certainly discovered "what's a heaven for."

I've received prayer shawls, Catholic mass cards and holy water, and beautiful flower arrangements. The family has enjoyed delicious food you've sent. We lead the league in casseroles, banana bread, pies, cakes and all kinds of cookies -- all expressing your loyalty and support. I deeply appreciate the visits of my friends -- especially those who flew here from Texas, Baltimore, New York, Boston, California and other faraway places.

Several years ago, I decided for the first and only time not to send Christmas cards. I was surprised that nobody seemed to notice. In fact, one friend told me, "Thanks for that beautiful card you sent," and another said, "Hey, I really liked your Christmas card."

So, this season I again won't send cards. (I'm saving my strength to sign the numbered posters commemorating my little speech in September at Comerica Park. I'm proud of the great job photographer-designer Jim Tocco did.)

Thanks to the Free Press for lending me this space to send you all my thanks and appreciation for your heartfelt responses.

Have a good wish for Ernie? Cards or letters can be sent to: Ernie Harwell, c/o S. Gary Spicer Sr., Attorney at Law, 16845 Kercheval Ave., Suite 5, Grosse Pointe 48230. Posters of Ernie's farewell address are available at freep.com/ernieposter.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:50 am

Posted: Jan. 24, 2010
Ernie Harwell
This column the result of Mr. Ego's victory over Mr. Lazybones

BY ERNIE HARWELL
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

These are times I often have trouble sleeping. Usually, I quickly drop off to sleep but awake around 2 or 3 a.m. and can't go back to sleep. All I can do is pray and wait for the dawn.

In between my prayers, ideas bounce around in my head. I don't worry, but I do stay awake -- bombarded by thoughts and plans.

Two influences in my life have become personified: Mr. Ego and Mr. Lazybones. They've been around forever.

The other night I was thinking about the Free Press' suggestion that I write a column again this year, as long as I'm able.

First, Mr. Ego speaks. "Go for it, man," he says. "This will be 20 straight years you've written a column for the Freep. Also, it means you've been writing for a major publication since 1934 -- a total of 76 years. You can even tell about winning that national high school award. It'll help your résumé."

"Résumé?" I say. "The stage I'm in, who needs a résumé?"

Now here comes Mr. Lazybones. "Don't do it," he tells me. "Your credo has always been 'Don't do anything you don't have to.' Forget the whole thing. Nobody will pay attention anyhow."

"Go away, Lazybones," I say. "They've told me I can write about anything -- my boyhood, getting old, and, of course, baseball and other sports. They also suggested answering questions from fans about almost any subject."

"You'll be disavowing your credo about not doing anything -- that pledge you made to me," Mr. Lazybones says.

"Uh-oh," I tell myself. "Here comes Mr. Ego again."

"Yes," he says, "I'm back to remind you this would be a good time to tell everybody about the award I mentioned."

So, after that arm twist, here is the story. In 1936, my senior year, I decided to write for the Atlanta Boys High Tatler. For no reason at all, the editor assigned the newcomer to write a column, "Turning on the Heat."

In the upset of the year, that first column won me a Royal typewriter in the annual Quill and Scroll competition among 3,000 entries from all over the U.S. It was the first time any contestant from the South had won the literary award. For me, it has been downhill ever since.

So here we go again -- with a column in 2010, as long as I can last. As I told Mr. Lazybones, my family and my friend and attorney, S. Gary Spicer, have grown tired of all my old stories. So, maybe I can foist them on you Free Press readers.


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell's Free Press Column   Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:54 pm

Posted: Jan. 25, 2010
Ernie Harwell
Too busy hustling for study

By ERNIE HARWELL
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Nearing the end of life's journey, all of us have a tendency to look back -- often with regret.

It happened to me last week as I read the record of my grades at Emory University, rediscovering that I was not a good student. If that's not the understatement of the 21st Century, it's close. Like saying Marie Antoinette died of a sore throat or Brigham Young was a married man.

I was a bad student because of majoring in everything except study. I was much too busy editing the Emory Wheel newspaper, misguiding my SAE fraternity and dancing life away. I was concentrating on being an entrepreneur -- a nicer way of saying a promoter or hustler.

One of my ventures into such activity was my first foray into the world of music.

In those Depression days of the 1930s, Atlanta was off the beaten track for appearances of the Big Bands. But finally, the Henry Grady Hotel made a bold move. The hotel would bring in bands to play for a whole week and make money off a cover charge. I think the charge was $20.

Harry James, Henry Busse and Hal Kemp brought in bands, but business wasn't too good. That's when the ole hustler went to work. I suggested to hotel management that it have a college night every Wednesday and attract social-minded students by cutting the cover charge to $10.

Well, it wasn't a smash idea, but it worked pretty well, and yours truly put away a buck or two. But money isn't everything (there's stocks and bonds and real estate, etc.). And I derived one of my musical thrills in the course of promoting Tommy Dorsey and his band when he played at the Henry Grady Hotel.

As part of the hustle, I invited Tommy to bring some of his band out to the fraternity house Sunday afternoon for a southern dinner. He surprised me by accepting.

Tommy came, bringing his sax man, Freddie Stulce, his female vocalist, Anita Boyer, and others.

We were a singing fraternity, so we made them listen to our songs and fed them fried chicken, mashed potatoes and the ubiquitous ice tea. Believe it or not, Tommy and his gang had a great time. Around 3 p.m., I suggested, "Tommy, it's about time to get you back to the hotel, isn't it?"

"No way, Ernie," he said. "We want to stay and hear some more songs." So they stayed and we all had a terrific afternoon.

Later, when I was broadcasting for the New York Giants, our traveling secretary Eddie Branmck and Dorsey were very close. I would see Tommy often and always remind him of that Sunday dinner with us. Of course, he didn't remember it, but the tempestuous Mr. Dorsey was nice enough to listen to my memory.


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