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 Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer

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PostSubject: Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer   Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:53 am

Friday, September 4, 2009
Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- He'd been waiting for test results.

His voice last week sounded strong -- as strong as always. By the end of the conversation, however, it didn't.

Ernie Harwell, the treasured voice of the Tigers for all those years, has incurable bile duct cancer. In comments to the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, he said he won't undergo surgery.

But in those same comments, he said he's ready for the next adventure.

It's been no secret lately that Ernie -- as nearly everyone knows him -- hadn't been feeling well. He was in the hospital, then out. There'd been speculation about pneumonia. But most of all there'd been speculation something was wrong.

"Just feeling a little weak at times," he said when called by The Detroit News recently. "We'll see where this takes us. I know I'll be in good hands."

Now he also knows what was wrong.

"We don't know how long this lasts," Harwell, 91, told the Free Press. "It could be a year. It could be much less than a year, much less than a half year. Who knows? Whatever is in store, I'm ready for a new adventure."

That's Ernie for you.

Life always has been an adventure for him. From his boyhood days in Georgia, to serving in the Marines, to broadcasting Bobby Thomson's famous home run for the New York Giants -- to becoming a Hall of Fame broadcaster with the Tigers.

Life's challenge will be an adventure as well.

"I'm ready to face what comes," he told the Free Press, "whether it's a long time or short time. It's up to my Lord and savior."
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer   Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:25 am

Posted: 9:38 p.m. Sept. 3, 2009 | Updated: 9:47 p.m. Sept. 3, 2009
WITH VIDEO
Not even cancer diagnosis can shake Harwell's spirit
Legendary Tigers broadcaster reflects on career, looks to future with resolve

BY BILL McGRAW
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

His voice was clear, his spirit strong, his words tinged with humor.

But legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell had bracing news to deliver Thursday: He has a tumor in the area of the bile duct. It is incurable. Yet Harwell said he feels calm and prepared for what comes next.

"We don't know how long this lasts," Harwell said in a phone interview. "It could be a year, it could be much less than a year, much less than a half a year. Who knows?

"Whatever's in store, I'm ready for a new adventure. That's the way I look at it."

Harwell, who gained an enormous following during 55 years as a major league baseball broadcaster -- 42 of them with the Tigers -- spent about a week in the hospital in mid-August with an obstructed bile duct, and tests revealed the tumor.

He is 91. Harwell, his family and doctors have decided against surgery or other treatment.

Asked what he wanted to have written about him, Harwell spoke about his fans and his faith.

"I don't want to make it too sweet because I don't want to get diabetes as well as this other stuff," he said, chuckling.

Speaking of his many admirers across North America, Harwell added: "I'd like to thank them for their loyalty and support over the years. And their affection, which I don't know whether I deserve or not, but I accept it.

"And also, I think that when I heard the news, that I had this cancer, that I had a feeling of security and serenity ... but I had a feeling of acceptance because of my belief in Jesus and the Lord."

Harwell praised his family, his longtime adviser Gary Spicer, and his doctors and the medical staff in the Henry Ford Hospital system.

In a statement, Michael Workings, team physician for the Detroit Tigers and a Henry Ford Hospital family medicine physician who is part of Harwell's care team, said: "Mr. Harwell is a beloved and iconic figure who has touched so many lives across Michigan through his Hall of Fame broadcasting career and support in the community."

Since retiring in 2002, Harwell has remained busy, writing three books that have been published by the Free Press, releasing an audio scrapbook of his interviews and famous broadcast moments, and working as a health and fitness advocate for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

"Ernie has literally changed people's lives through his efforts to communicate about the benefits of healthy behavior, and we are grateful to him for that," said Blues President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Loepp. "He has been an inspiration to all of us at the Blues who have the honor of knowing him."

Harwell said he plans to retire from his job with the Blues after he records two commercials next week. He plans to complete a fourth book of his columns, which have run for years in the Free Press sports section. The final column is scheduled to appear at the end of the month.

Harwell said he feels good but has been forced to cut back on his daily exercise routine.

"I don't have any pain at the moment," he said. "Because I've lost weight, I can eat almost everything I wanted to. I've come back to my childhood with ice cream and all those good things."

Harwell said his wife, Lulu, remains strong and shares his belief in God. They celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary Sunday.

"We walk hand in hand wherever we go," Harwell said. "We still love each other. She's the best thing that ever happened to me."

For the first time, his voice wavered, slightly.

Contact BILL McGRAW: bmcgraw@freepress.com




“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer   Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:33 am

RELATED INFORMATION

Got 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

All about Ernie

Who: William Earnest Harwell
Born: Jan. 25, 1918, in Washington, Ga.
Personal:
Married to Lulu since 1941. Four children.
College:
Emory University, Atlanta
Military:
Four years, U.S. Marines
With the typewriter:

Covered minor league Atlanta Crackers for the Sporting News, worked for Atlanta Constitution. Still writes a weekly column during baseball season for the Free Press.
In the booth: Started with the Crackers in 1943, before World War II intervened. In 1948, Brooklyn traded catcher Cliff Dapper to Atlanta to acquire Harwell. His stops: Dodgers, 1948-49; New York Giants, 1950-53; Baltimore Orioles, 1954-59; Tigers, 1960-2002 (missed 1992 after firing, did only television 1994-98).
First day with Tigers: Replaced Van Patrick. Teamed with George Kell.
Last day with Tigers:
Ended broadcast Sept. 29, 2002, with these words: "I thank you very much, and God bless all of you.
"Tidbits:
In 55-year major league career, he missed only two games -- for his brother's funeral in 1968 and for his induction into the Hall of Fame of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 1989.
Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, Radio Hall of Fame in 1998. Harwell and Dapper finally met Sept. 15, 2002, when Harwell's statue was unveiled at Comerica Park.


Listening to The Voice once more

Click here to hear selected highlights from Ernie Harwell's Audio Scrapbook. To hear the entire four-CD set featuring Harwell's memorable calls, interviews with Ted Williams and Willie Mays and priceless memories from his 55 years in baseball, go to www.eharwell.com.
For the CD set and Harwell's last three books ("Stories From My Life in Baseball," "Life After Baseball" and "Breaking 90"), go to freep.com/bookstore or call 800-245-5082.

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“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer   Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:45 am




HOF brodcaster Harwell fighting cancer
Former voice of Tigers has incurable tumor in bile duct

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

09/04/09 6:54 AM ET

DETROIT -- Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, the voice for the Tigers for more than four decades and an icon for the Tigers well beyond his retirement from broadcasting in 2002, has been diagnosed with cancer.

Harwell has an incurable tumor around his bile duct. He revealed the diagnosis in Friday's edition of the Detroit Free Press, for whom he has worked as a columnist for several years, and where he explained his outlook.

"We don't know how long this lasts," Harwell told the newspaper in a phone interview. "It could be a year. It could be much less than a year, much less than a half a year. Who knows?

"Whatever's in store, I'm ready for a new adventure. That's the way I look at it."

Harwell, 91, was hospitalized for a few weeks with a bile duct obstruction. He returned to his home in suburban Detroit while doctors ran tests and was under orders to rest, though he still remained pretty active with his work, he told MLB.com recently, as he awaited news on what was causing the trouble.

The tests eventually revealed the tumor and the outlook. His spirit, however, has remained surprisingly strong.

"I think that when I heard the news -- that I had this cancer -- that I had a feeling of security and serenity," Harwell told the Free Press, "but I had a feeling of acceptance because of my belief in Jesus and the Lord."

Harwell reportedly will not undergo any surgery.

Harwell's life and his ability to remain incredibly active into his 90s has become an example for people across the state through his role as a spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He has long credited his daily workouts, including walking and jumping rope, for helping him work for so long on Tigers radio broadcasts and defy the conventional limitations of his age well after he left the baseball airwaves.

Now that he has received a worst-case prognosis, he has been forced to cut back on a lot of those activities. He'll reportedly close out his spokesperson engagements next week and will run a final column in the Free Press later this month. Still, he said he isn't in pain, and he joked that he has been able to eat like a kid again as he tries to keep up his weight.

Harwell spent 55 seasons broadcasting in the Major Leagues, the last 42 of them in Detroit. He became known as the radio voice of the Tigers through generations of fans, from the 1968 team that won the World Series to the 1984 club that did the same. He was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, and he compiled what is now a renowned collection of baseball artifacts and memorabilia.

All the while, his conversational style and Southern accent from his days as the voice of the Minor League Atlanta Crackers on radio during World War II became part of the sound of Michigan summers. Through Harwell, fans came to know Tiger Stadium by its location on the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, and recognized home runs as "looong gone!" For several years, even after Harwell's retirement, the scoreboard at Comerica Park would celebrate a called third strike with Harwell's phrase that the batter "stood there like a house by the side of the road."

Harwell broke into the big leagues in 1948 as part of a trade between the Crackers and Brooklyn Dodgers, who had to send Minor League catcher Cliff Dapper to Atlanta to get the Crackers to let Harwell out of his broadcasting contract with them. Harwell had the national radio play-by-play call when Bobby Thomson hit "The Shot Heard Round the World" in 1951 for the Giants to win their National League playoff against the Dodgers.

Harwell signed on to do radio play-by-play for the Tigers in 1960 and, with the exception of one year, called Tigers games through 2002. Though he never played a game in a Detroit uniform, his ability to bring the game to fans has made him one of the most beloved sports figures in the city.

That makes his latest news a heartbreaking development for fans in Detroit.

"I'd like to thank them for their loyalty and support over the years, certainly, and their affection, which I don't know if I deserved or not," Harwell said.

Hopefully they can take some comfort through Harwell's upbeat nature. His words, again, are going out to Tigers fans.

"I really feel good. I've got a great attitude. I just look forward to a new adventure," Harwell told the paper. "God gives us so many adventures, and I've had some great ones. It's been a terrific life. Of course, the best thing that ever happened to me was my wife, Lulu. I'm just happy that we were able to reach our 68th wedding anniversary."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer   Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:20 pm

Crying or Very sad

pray


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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer   Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:13 pm

I feel so bad about this. It is so sad, and I PRAY he does not have to go through much suffering. Sad

We have to also feel good that he knows his Lord anD Savior and truly does have a better place waiting for him! God has been so good to give him so many great years living on this earth... I pray God grants him the chance to see his beloved Tigers win the World Series this year!!!

Knowing how good God is, I am sure there is a place waiting for Ernie to announce the Tigers Games of the players who have gone on before him!


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer   Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:41 pm

Sad
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