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Vin Scully, Ralph Lawler and Bob Miller talk about Ernie Harwell

May 5, 2010 | 11:23 am

Vin Scully spoke Tuesday about Ernie Harwell, the legendary Detroit Tigers broadcaster who died of cancer at the age of 92. 

The Dodgers broadcaster called Harwell, "a Georgia boy with a twinkle in his voice." What Scully most remembers, he said, was that Harwell was genuine: "He had a special warmth that could not be manufactured. He was a very gentle, caring man with a great sense of humor and humility. He was very, very easy to like on and off the air."

Two other long-time Los Angeles television voices also had memories of Harwell to offer.

Kings broadcaster and Hockey Hall of Famer Bob Miller said he met Harwell once when Harwell was a guest speaker at a Sportscaster Camp that Miller and Roy Englebrecht conducted in Windsor, Canada (right outside Detroit) in 1987. The camp was for people interested in learning how to do play-by-play and studio TV sportscasts.

Miller said, "We would have a classroom session in the morning, and Ernie was the speaker. The Tigers had a game that night, so I told him he didn't have to stay after his speech, but he said, "No, I want to stay and have lunch and visit with these youngsters."  He did, and it was a thrill for all of them because he was genuinely interested in giving them advice for their futures."

Harwell was genuinely friendly, Miller said, and "a down-to-earth person who never allowed fame to change his personality."  

Ralph Lawler, voice of the Clippers and a should-be Hall of Famer, grew up in Peoria, Ill., and listened to many legendary baseball voices. 

"Harry Caray was in St. Louis," Lawler said, "Jack Brickhouse and Jack Quinlan were in Chicago and, eventually, Ernie was in Detroit. They were the great baseball voices in the Midwest, and I was in awe of them all."

Lawler said that he loved the depth and timber of Harwell's voice. "Great sports voices are in short supply today," Lawler said. "Most of the legends were born through the medium of radio back in the day. Now the young people break into the business in television, without the benefit of the radio training and experience.

"So many of today's young voices sound more like your barber than your broadcaster. Ernie was one of the greats and an inspiration to those of us who had aspirations for a life in the broadcast booth."

-- Diane Pucin

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