OT - Ernie Harwell: The Voice of the Turtle

Submitted by APBlue on February 22nd, 2013 at 9:35 AM

With the winter storms passing through the midwest for the past couple of days, I thought this might be a nice reminder to everyone that spring, she is a comin'.  

Like a lot of people that grew up in the Detroit area, I grew up listening to Ernie Harwell calling Tigers games.  This time of year, it was always nice to hear him recite "The Voice of the Turtle".  

Although I haven't posted a video in so long that I forgot how, I'd rather try and fail than post a link to the Free Press article that reminded me of this.  Here's a version from youtube:

Okay.  I had this once, then screwed it up.  Here's a link to the youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr0wonW9u1A


...and I'll try this again (JEEBUS).  



Darker Blue

February 22nd, 2013 at 9:57 AM ^

Thanks man, I really appreciate it. I know I typically come off as a HUGE dick around here, but normally I'm just trying ( and failing ) to be funny. I appreciate the MGoCommunity's support more than you could ever imagine. 


Just to be clear, we're not getting seperated or going through a divorce. We're a very happy couple. But holy shit the past never goes away. There is a trial involved if that helps. I probably shouldn't say anymore. 


But again thank you so much!

Darker Blue

February 22nd, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

I don't remember the whole story but yeah I seem to remember it was Bo that pushed Ernie out. Thank God he came back. I miss that man. I would always watch the Tigs on TV with the sound off and have the radio on listening to Ernie calling the game. Jim Price and ( I can't remember his partners name now ) don't do it for me.


February 22nd, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

Dan Dickerson isn't bad at all (seriously, listen to Ed Farmer for the White Sox and you'll want to rip your cochlea out with a rusty spoon), but he's no Ernie. I don't think he gets enough credit, because the shoes that he's trying to fill are... well... unfillable.

I really like Pat Hughes (sp?) from the Cubs. In fact, I'm more impressed with him than I am Bob Uecker, who was great in Major League (Go Tribe!), but not really that notable otherwise IMO. Ron Santo was a broadcasting trainwreck, but the synergy between Pat and Ron (read: Pat mocking Ron and Ron being oblivious to it) was tremendous.

rob f

February 23rd, 2013 at 1:30 AM ^

between broadcasters, who among you are old enough to have listened (back in the 70's) to the White Sox TV broadcasts featuring a drunk (Harry Carry) and a head case (Jimmy Piersall).  As a life-long Tigers fan, I have always hated the Sox, but listening to those two made it well worth stomaching the distasteful act of watching a Sox game.


February 22nd, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

This exactly, Dickerson is awesome at painting a visual picture, but when Jim Price talks everything good is just undone.

There was a 2 week period when Price was sick that they had Dan Petry as his replacement and I really wish it was he would have stuck on longer. Price with his constant lip smacking and old man views on baseball is just hard to listen to.


February 22nd, 2013 at 8:35 PM ^

I have come to like Price quite a bit. He has a sense of humor, isn't afraid to express a critical opinion and is tied to Tiger history (at least from his playing days). I think he fits well with Dickerson...and certainly the two of them combined are multiple times better than Rod and Mario.

rob f

February 23rd, 2013 at 1:44 AM ^

but can tolerate him now since all play-by-play duties went to Dickerson a few seasons back.  Price was soooo gawdawful at PBP that I'd rather listen to 24 hours of fingernails scratching a chalkboard than even a painful half inning of Price doing PBP action.  As a color guy, he's not bad until he resorts to his all too frequent use of the word 'WOW" and pet phrases such as "art of pitching".   I agree with the previous comment regarding Dan Petry, though---very enjoyable to listen to, and i hope that once Price retires, Petry takes his place.




February 22nd, 2013 at 10:22 AM ^

Bo was more the scapegoat for Ernie's firing than the orchestrator.  If you listen to the Sparties, Bo was hired at the Tigers and the first thing he did in order to throw his weight around and make his mark was fire Ernie.  Nuh-uh.  First of all, Ernie's contracts were with WJR, so Bo couldn't even have unilaterally done it without their support.

Second, the firing was in the works before Bo even got there.  There had been talk of that being his last contract, which was up in 1990, and then Ernie was given one last one-year contract, 1991, with the now-public understanding that it would be his last.  Bo sort of put a public face on the firing because he was in the pink-slip meeting with Ernie, went along with the management's decision, and nobody other than Tom Monaghan was even remotely recognizable to the public.

Here's an MVictors post on the subject with links, including a Bacon one:


rob f

February 23rd, 2013 at 2:06 AM ^

as Ernie's broadcast partner, and (as a kid) liked him, although I've read many times over the years that most fans considered him mediocre at best.  When Paul Carey replaced him, it took a while for me to warm up to him, but over the years it became pretty apparent that he was the perfect partner in the booth for my all-time favorite, Ernie.

Someone mentioned elsewhere in this thread about the pathetic bunch that have done Lion's games over the years---I grew up listening to a great one in the Lion's booth until he died in '74: Van Patrick.  Patrick was excellent, nobody since has been worth a damn in comparison.

Patrick used to also do Tiger games for most of the decade of the  50's, immediately following the great Tiger Hall of Fame player and broadcaster  Harry Heilman, who did  Tiger Broadcasts from the mid 30's until 1950 (my Grandpa, who's hugely responsible for my love of the Olde English "D", told me many a time of enjoying immensely the broadcasts of both those gentlemen).



February 22nd, 2013 at 1:51 PM ^

Dan Dickerson and Jim Price are not on Ernie's level, but who is? Dickerson and Price are not bad at all, though. I like sitting back on an afternoon day, listening to those two call the action. 

In fact, I am sitting here right now listening to the Tigers game on WXYT through MLB.com. Good way to spend an afternoon.


February 22nd, 2013 at 10:05 AM ^

Hearing "The Voice Of The Turtle" was a greatly anticipated moment for me, for it meant spring and Tigers baseball. This brought back so many memories of sitting on the patio listening to Ernie's call of the game.

I still remember being at the last game at Tiger Stadium and having WJR on the headphones as Beltran struck out. It was so unreal to hear Ernie say, "...and Tiger Stadium is no more". I was also at the game in 2009 where he made his final appearance. I don't think there was a dry eye for miles around me. I know mine weren't dry.

I still miss that voice.


February 22nd, 2013 at 11:15 AM ^

Fell asleep listening to the guy every night in the summer when I was a kid. It's too bad there aren't more broadcasters like him around much anymore. Detroit sports have been really fortunate when it comes to radio - Kell, Harwell, Blaha (know he is a Sparty but I don't mind the guy for Pistons), Ken Kal, Paul Woods. Idk who used to do Lions games but I am not a big fan of the current guys, even though Brandy is one of them.

yossarians tree

February 22nd, 2013 at 1:50 PM ^

Miller is awful, only a step above the guy he replaced, Mark Champion, who was such a homer that he would get near-suicidal describing the Lions. Which, who could blame him? For the life of me I can't figure out how the Lions can be so inept--it has to be a reflection on the Fords. It's not money...they pay for players and they built a beautiful stadium on their own dime, right downtown where it needed to be.



February 22nd, 2013 at 12:12 PM ^

Bruce Martyn and Ufer!

I remember listening to a game in bed in '76.  Fidyrch had started, but we were losing a close game and he'd been pulled for John Hiller.  I remember hoping so hard that he'd get us out of the inning so the bats could come back and prevent Fidrych from taking the loss.  We did lose, but the memory is testament to both The Bird and Ernie.

I like Dickerson more every year, but Price's relentless need to insert himself in the action drives me batshit nuts. WOW.


February 22nd, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

Born in 89, so I can't remember much from Martyn (not that I could remember Kell), but yeah, forgot about him. Long career with the Wings. I didn't include any UM guys, but Ufer is obviously as big as they come when it comes to the states' broadcasting legends. At least for UM fans :)

rob f

February 23rd, 2013 at 2:44 AM ^

The bad and the ugly:  Rick Rizz and Bob Rathbun, who made up broadcast team that had the task of following the beloved Ernie.  What did they last for, maybe a year or two?  Rizz probably would have been OK in time, but was hated mostly because of the circumstances of Ernie's "firing" and also somewhat because he tended to be a lot more "over-the-top" in his broadcast style following the soothing Georgia drawl of Ernie.  Rathbun, though, was completely unlistenable with his fake non-stop "rah-rah" style of color and play-by-play duties.  UGH!

The good:  Jerry Hanlon---did a lot of color work for Michigan broadcasts, it must have been immediately after he retired from coaching back in the 90's for several years.  I loved his perspective and honesty in the booth---he had no fear of being critical when it was needed and did a great job of describing the technicalities of line play to the listeners at home or listening in the stands.

The good (part 2): Jim Northrup.  Did TV for several years, first briefly on the regular broadcasts with George Kell and Al Kaline, and then for several years on PASS Sports, the  Sports-Cable network that did Tigers games that were not on the traditional over-the-air Tiger TV Network.  Northrup's style was much like that of Hanlon (as I posted above), very honest and enlightening and not at all afraid of being critical. Reportedly, that "critical" stuff was looked at by Tiger top brass as too abrasive, it didn't sit well with ownership and the front office (I think the GM back then was Jim Campbell), and as I recall reading, eventually Northrup was let go of as a result of PASS being pushed into that decision by the Tigers front office.


February 22nd, 2013 at 6:05 PM ^

I'm not disputing that, and sorry if it seemed that way. I don't know why, but I heard that played a few years ago and I listen to it every year on opening day. I honestly don't remember listening to spring training when I was young, but I go to a lot of spring training games now. I just like to dial it up on opening day.


February 22nd, 2013 at 5:31 PM ^

many other fine ones, especially in detroit, but nobody was a good as earnie.   two of his classic lines he always used, "that ball is loooong gone" and "a man from [pick random city] caught that foul ball".  

others have mentioned kell, but what about his partner larry oosterman?  he, along with paul carey, were two great voices as well.   incidentally, as much as i like al kaline and jim price, they are both awful on the air. i keep thinking jim price makes up the majority of what he says right out of thin air.