I grew up as a Tigers fan in Massachusetts before internet, cable TV, satellite radio and all the other modern inventions which make it so much easier to follow any team from any city. Therefore, Ernie was my primary link to the Tigers throughout my childhood. I would go to sleep listening to Ernie just about every night of my youth and beyond from opening day to the end of the season. I would not have remained a Tigers fan all these years without him. Thousands of other Tigers fans share similar stories about the most beloved Tigers figure in the last five decades.
Harwell seems to be remaining strong and in good spirits through his ordeal as indicated by his quotes such as this one in a Detroit Free Press article:
"I'm not saying goodbye, I'm here," Ernie said on Friday with characteristic spunk. "I plan to live life to the fullest until it's over. In fact, I'm heading out to lunch in a few minutes, and I'm going to have some ice cream. Maybe even some macaroni."Of course, we would not expect anything less from Mr. Harwell. It's sad to learn that Ernie is apparently mortal but we can take solace in the fact that he has lived a long life and a great life. And he's not done yet. The man who taught so many young fans about the Tigers and about baseball is now teaching us lessons about dealing with life's ultimate challenge.