Skip to main content

Dome Pondering Import – Ernie Harwell’s HOF Induction Speech

In the wake of legendary baseball announcer, Ernie Harwell passing away, there seems to be a a slow fading of the old generation of play-by-play announcers not just in baseball, but in sport. In today, where production, glitz, graphics, and sometimes, even acting are part of a sporting event, often forgotten is the art of storytelling. The ability to enter someone’s home or radio and guide them for two or three hours. Talents like Harwell, Harry Kalas, Bob Costas, and Vin Scully to name are few, are instant classics. Voices, when you hear them that demand attention. And while I’ve never had the distinct opportunity to really appreciate Harwell or Kalas before their passing, from clips, sound bytes, and speeches, you are aware of their greatness. 

Although my generation is linked to the Joe Bucks, John Maddens, Michael Kays, and John Sterlings of the world, appreciating greats like Harwell and Kalas is not difficult because of their timeless work. And while very little of the announcing old guard remains, I will be sure to one day attempt to listen to the one-man announcing crew that is Vin Scully call one game before he too, leaves the game. 

The import is a transcript of Ernie Harwell’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech where he gives his definition of baseball.


Ernie Harwell’s Definition of Baseball

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 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.

In baseball democracy shines its clearest.  The only race that matters is the race to the bag.  The creed is the rulebook.  Color merely something to distinguish one team’s uniform from another.

Baseball is a rookie.  His experience no bigger than the lump in his throat as he begins fulfillment of his dream.  It’s a veteran too, a tired old man of thirty-five hoping that those aching muscles can pull him through another sweltering August and September. 

Nicknames are baseball, names like Zeke and Pie and Kiki and Home Run and Cracker and Dizzy and Dazzy.

Baseball is the cool, clear eyes of Rogers Hornsby.  The flashing spikes of Ty Cobb, and an over-aged pixie named Rabbit Maranville.

Baseball is just a game as simple as a ball and bat.  Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes.  A sport, a business and sometimes almost even a religion.

Why the fairy tale of Willie Mays making a brilliant World’s Series catch.  And then dashing off to play stick ball in the street with his teenage pals.  That’s baseball.  So is the husky voice of a doomed Lou Gehrig saying, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”

Baseball is cigar smoke, hot roasted peanuts, The Sporting News, ladies day, “Down in Front”, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and the Star Spangled Banner.

Baseball is a tongue tied kid from Georgia growing up to be an announcer and praising the Lord for showing him the way to Cooperstown.  This is a game for America.  Still a game for America, this is baseball!  Thank you.

Recently Read Posts

5 Thoughts on Pujols Hitting 700

It almost feels like the negative vitriol that surrounded Major League Baseball and its labor issues have dissipated into an air of forgetfulness and forgiveness. A season that has brought us old-school lore with the chasing of historical numbers by way of Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, and the likes of a modern-day Babe Ruth, in another dominant season by Shohei Ohtani, would ultimately do that. Sprinkle in some amazing rookies on the rise, and all of sudden it's, what did I say about baseball's treatment of fans? It's been some season... In this post, I want to focus on Albert Pujols...the "King", the "Machine", one of the greatest ever. After hitting a historic 700th Home Run ( by the way, I definitely predicted that back in March  - just humble-bragging a bit), I wanted to drop five (fitting, yeah?) thoughts on Albert Pujols:  GREATEST EVER?! - Pujols' career often feels like the Angels' years were some sort of nightmare or a bad edition in a

Impact Wrestling Emergence 2022 Review: "...Just Solid - So Freakin' Solid."

It probably won't come as a shock to anyone who follows this blog that I will say the following statement: Impact Wrestling may just be the most consistently entertaining and fresh - very important adjective here! - wrestling product that I've engaged with over the past two years. It's just always there, as solid as it can be. No real highs, or lows that push me away as a fan - just good, consistent, thorough, solid pro wrestling enjoyment.  Now, make no mistake about it, over the past summer, I found myself a whopping thirteen weeks behind this solid product in favor of the still new (and intriguing) AEW product and my on-again-off-again hope in the WWE due to nostalgia. However, trusty-work-from-home days have allowed me to binge watch (and work, of course) and it certainly opened my eyes to a new experience when it came to wrestling. Removal from the episodic style habit, and the feel of episodes bridging together seamlessly.  Also, remove from the internet culture of we

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/25/22

3  Up 1. Albert Pujols - 700 homeruns is insane. Even through a generation of steroids, the number is incredibly exclusive (sans, you know, Bonds). So much props to Pujols who literally puts himself in some rarified discussions among the game's greatest.  Here are some quick thoughts from yours truly on Pujols hitting 700 .  2. PATHFINDER - The fight against cancer just got a smidge better. GRAIL announced results from their PATHFINDER study that may have found ways to provide early detection screening to significantly enhance the discovery of cancer well before symptoms begin.  I accidentally ran into this story - why isn't this more headline news? SMH.  3. Pandemic Over? - The World Health Organization (remember them, before everyone suddenly became public health experts) described COVID as an "acute global emergency". Going even further, announced that 20M global deaths were avoided last year due to vaccines. Just outright amazing.  3 Down 1. Brett Favre - No resp

Would You Rather: Questions 81-90

81. Would you rather be 4'5" or 7'7"? I would prefer to be 7'7". On this weird spectrum, I'm already used to being taller than the average person. I can deal with the extreme height. It'll be nice to play some pick up basketball.  82. Would you rather be tall and fat, or short and well built? Tall and fat. I can always lose the weight. Plus, short and jacked dudes often have to fight the stigma of being jerks on first appearance.  83. Would you rather be poor and work at a job you love, or rich and a job you hate? Poor and work at a job you love. Take it from someone who has their dream job, the sense of purpose and peace of mind is indeed worth much.