Every team in America, every club has an iconic figure; someone who stands out as a true face of the club. So often in baseball, it's the voice of the team. Players come and players go, coaches may be around for a few years, but often, the man on the radio was the one who we grew familiar with. Though he may have not been on the field in ages (or in some cases, ever), you felt like the man on the radio was the link to the team. For many of us, Joe Nuxhall was that man. I grew up listening to Joe broadcast the events of every summer game, wishing I could stay in those moments forever. I'll never forget the sadness in my heart when Joe passed away, because to me in my childhood, Joe WAS Reds baseball. There are not many men about whom you can say that who remain.
Baseball lost another such man last night. Ernie Harwell, the voice of the Tigers for over 40 years, passed away after a battle with inoperable cancer. I could often get Tigers broadcasts on my radio as well as Reds games, so if the Reds were off, I was listening to Ernie Harwell describe, in his own poetic form, the Tigers games. I for so long wondered how he knew where every fan was from!
Men like Ernie, Joe, Harry Kalas, Bob Uecker, and Vin Scully are special men, and it didn't feel right to let this moment pass without honoring a great man, both in baseball and outside.
Baseball is a highly paid Brooklyn catcher telling the nation's business leaders: "You have to be a man to be a big leaguer, but you have to have a lot of little boy in you too."
This is a game for America, this baseball!
A game for boys and men. - Ernie Harwell, "A Game for All America"