Wayne State honours broadcaster with new baseball facility

Wayne State honours broadcaster with new baseball facility

DETROIT — Wayne State University has unveiled a $2.3 million baseball facility to honour a legendary Detroit broadcaster.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday declared the grand opening of Harwell Field on the university’s athletic campus. The brand new facility honours former Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell who died in 2010.

Wayne State announced the project in 2013 after university athletic director Rob Fournier contacted Harwell’s longtime friend and attorney Gary Spicer.

The privately funded facility features a replica of the rotunda of Ebbets Field, where Harwell began his broadcasting career with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

“Generations will be able to come down here and see and remember Ernie Harwell,” former Tiger and World Series champion Alan Trammell said. “Obviously, as we get older, there’s going to be part of a generation that doesn’t know really who he is. Well, they’ll never forget him. I don’t care what age you are, when you hear that voice, it’s going to put a smile to your face.”

Kirk Gibson, who also played baseball for the university, said the broadcaster would treat him “better than I deserved.”

“Regardless of what was going on, his voice was just very calming,” Gibson said. “He mentored many people, like myself. And to have this up here in honour of Ernie is why I’m here. He continues to inspire me and anyone who ever knew him.”

Harwell was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and National Sportscaster Hall of Fame in 1989 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1998.

The facility is the first of a multi-phase project that eventually includes expanded grandstands and a press box.

The Associated Press