Ernie Harwell

The 87-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster is the co-author of Ernie Harwell: My 60 Years in Baseball
May 22, 2005

SI: You retired in 2002. What do you miss the most?

Harwell: The camaraderie of the people in baseball--the players, the umpires, the writers, the broadcasters. I go into the ballpark every now and then, but I don't want to be the old guy who goes back to the office, sits in the corner and tells everybody how great the old days were. I know that syndrome, and people don't appreciate that.

SI: How badly has the steroids scandal hurt the game?

Harwell: It's been an embarrassment, but the game is a great survivor. I don't think the fans are quite as concerned about it as the people in the media are.

SI: You made your big league radio debut in 1948 after the minor league Atlanta Crackers dealt you to Brooklyn for Cliff Dapper. Was it flattering to have Branch Rickey trade for you?

Harwell: Well, you have to remember that [Dapper] was a minor league catcher [laughs].

SI: Which call was your biggest thrill?

Harwell: The Bobby Thomson homer. I was on TV instead of radio, though Mrs. Harwell and I are the only people who know I was on it. I also did the Bucky Dent home run on CBS Radio. I gave Bucky a tape later when he was a coach with the Yankees. I said, "Bucky, I want to apologize for this tape. I just said, 'It's a fly ball to left.'" He said, "Well, that's what it was."

SI: In his book Voices of the Game, historian Curt Smith ranks you as the third-best broadcaster of all time, behind Vin Scully and Mel Allen. How about that?

Harwell: I thought I'd make about Number 98, but those are good choices ahead of me. --Richard Deitsch