He actually had a lot of interests and was a very spiritual guy, but baseball was a huge part of Ernie Harwell’s life. He made his living behind the microphone, calling Detroit Tigers games for decades. He was in prime position to acquire mountains of baseball memorabilia. Now, that collection is housed in the Detroit Public Library.
He may have lived to be 100 if an aggressive cancer hadn’t swooped in and robbed us of a man who was a friend to anyone he met. His death in May of last year at age 92 has some fans making a pilgrimage to the library to see little pieces of Harwell’s baseball life.
That includes the Tigers’ current manager, Jim Leyland and some of his coaches. They took a break from traveling the state on the winter caravan to visit the collection. Not all of it is valuable. There are notes and clippings that helped steer him through the thousands of broadcasts and even a few books he wrote later in life.
It’s clear from the column by Neil Rubin in the Detroit News that Ernie never threw much of anything away…the sign of a true collector indeed.