Ernie Harwell’s Former Home in Detroit
The house Ernie Harwell lived in on Greenview Road in Detroit was sold for $38,000 in 2015. That's all? A baseball legend's house was that inexpensive?
Ernie lived there early in his career...it's a modest house in (what seems to be) a middle-class neighborhood. The house was built in 1941 and Ernie lived there not long afterward. A number of years went by, and Ernie and his wife moved to Farmington Hills and then to Novi...but this little house he started out in stays in pretty good shape and is occasionally put on the market...if you're interested. In the gallery below you'll see some photos of this simple little home.
According to his biography, Ernie was born in Washington, Georgia, on January 25, 1918. His first attempt at broadcasting was when he was just a child - the local druggist asked him to pretend to announce an Atlanta Crackers ball game. Having problems pronouncing the letter “s”, his parents paid for elocution lessons that helped him get over this particular affliction.
ERNIE HARWELL FAST FACTS:
1940: Radio debut at WSB, Georgia
1940: Married Lulu Tankersley
1943: First baseball play-by-play while in the marines
1948: Radio announcer, Brooklyn Dodgers
1949: First attempt at TV broadcasting
1950-1953: Announcer for NY Giants
1953-1959: Announcer for the Baltimore Orioles
1959: Old pal George Kell recommends Ernie for Detroit Tiger broadcasts
1963: Announcer for MSU Spartans
During the 1968 World Series, Ernie asked singer Jose' Feliciano to sing the National Anthem. Jose's style received an angry reaction and upset people pointed fingers at Ernie and demanded he be fired. He wasn't. To his credit, he stuck it out until the controversy blew over.
In 1990, Ernie planned on staying with the Tigers for three more years – that is, until the Tiger organization and WJR radio told Ernie they didn't want him that long. One more year, and that was it. The class act that Ernie was, he harbored no ill will or bitterness, but admitted the whole thing came as a 'surprise'. Needless to say, the fans were MAD. The Tigers and WJR were both being boycotted and slammed in the press.
In 1992, Ernie was broadcasting for the California Angels...but when Mike Ilitch bought the Tigers in 1992, he asked Ernie to come back...and he did, until his retirement in 2002. Ernie's final words were: “I have just finished my baseball broadcasting career. And it’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes 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 goodbye, 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 work place and your back yard. 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’ve been a very large part of mine. And it’s my privilege and honor to share with you the greatest game of all.”
In 2009 Ernie made public his fight with cancer; he passed away on May 4, 2010 in Novi at the age of 92.
Ernie's likability and “everyman” quality endeared him to the fans and to the most famous sports figures of all time. Aside from the classic Detroit Tiger players, during his career Ernie was able to interview legends like Ty Cobb, Jack Dempsey, and Ted Williams.
What a guy.