Everyone loved Ernie Harwell, but the love he had for the fans of the Detroit Tigers was equally as strong.
12 years ago today, Harwell gave his farewell speech at Comerica Park.
“The Tigers have just finished their 2002 season. And I’ve just finished my baseball broadcasting career, and it’s time to say good-bye. But I think good-byes are sad, and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.
I’m not leaving, folks. I’ll still be with you, living my life in Michigan, my home state, surrounded by family and friends.
“And rather than good-bye, please allow me to say thank you. Thank you for letting me be part of your family. Thank you for taking me with you to that cottage up north, to the beach, the picnic, your workplace and your backyard. Thank you for sneaking your transistor under the pillow as you grew up loving the Tigers.
Now I might have been a small part of your life. But you have been a very large part of mine. And it’s my privilege and honor to share with you the greatest game of all.
Now God has a new adventure for me. And I’m ready to move on. So I leave you with a deep sense of appreciation for your longtime loyalty and support.
I thank you very much, and God bless all of you.”
We miss you, Ernie!