The late, great Ernie Harwell would have turned 104 years old today.

Ernie Harwell broadcast Major League Baseball games for 55 years, 42 of them with the Detroit Tigers. He was born on this day in 1918 in Washington, Georgia, and he died on May 4, 2010 in Novi.

I was lucky enough to get to meet him and know him through my close friend and longtime broadcaster Fred Heumann. Fred was close with Ernie for years because of his years working and growing up in the Detroit area.

I was lucky one night to sit with Ernie at a banquet in East Lansing. We had a great chat about baseball and his career. He asked me how I broke into radio, and I told him I was a caller on a national radio show in Las Vegas. I parlayed that into being a host. Of course, there is more to it than that, but I couldn’t believe the great Ernie Harwell was fascinated by my story.

Ernie Harwell will always be remembered and looked upon as one of the greatest baseball broadcasters ever in our lifetime. I was very fortunate that I could call him and pick his brain about baseball and broadcasting. He was like that with a lot of people.

I can’t believe he has been gone for almost 12 years. Happy birthday to Ernie Harwell, one of the all-time greats.

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