Tuesday, April 04, 2006

ernie harwell's "definition of baseball"


to celebrate the start of baseball season i'm going to post a baseball entry each day this week. i have not followed baseball as closely as i have in the past but i still look forward to the start of the season.
i look at it as the official start of spring and that goes a long way when you live in the northeast.
like many others, i first was interested in baseball via the radio. i would listen to the games being sung by bob prince also known as the "the gunner" by pittsburgh pirate fans during the glory days of roberto clemente, bill mazaraski, steve blass, willie stargell. etc..
today i want to share ernie harwell's definition of baseball that he read when he was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1981. harwell finished his career with the detroit tigers and is still the only broadcaster involved in a baseball trade when he was traded from the atlanta crackers to the brooklyn dodgers for the dodgers manager, cliff dapper.
below is an excerpt from harwell's "definition of baseball" and here is ernie harwell's induction speech at baseball's hall of fame in cooperstown, NY (ernie gives his "definition of baseball" somewhere in the middle). i recommend listening to the audio and ernie's sweet southern drawl..
here is the audio file or use the player (track 1).

"Baseball is the President tossing out the first ball of the season and a scrubby schoolboy playing catch with his dad on a Mississippi farm. A tall, thin old man waving a scorecard from the corner of his dugout. That's baseball. And so is the big, fat guy with a bulbous nose running home one of his (Babe Ruth's) 714 home runs."
"There's a man in Mobile who remembers that Honus Wagner hit a triple in Pittsburgh forty-six years ago. That's baseball. So is the scout reporting that a sixteen year old pitcher in Cheyenne is a coming Walter Johnson. Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered, or booed. And then becomes a statistic."

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