Ernie Harwell’s Amazing Lulu


I double-checked a file and gasped. Earlier, I shared a letter I sent to Mrs. Ernie Harwell in 2002.

I had tucked away the inspiring response she sent. Here it is, on official team stationery from Comerica park. That famous “D” and the title “Ernie Harwell, Broadcaster” are all that’s seen at the top of the page.

The one-and-only Miss Lulu wrote:

“Dear Mr. Owens,

I swiped a piece of Ernie’s Tiger stationery to do this. I just want to thank you for your kind letter.

For me — and for Ernie — our journey through baseball took us to many wonderful places to live and many great people as friends and neighbors.

It has been a great life and a busy one — raising four children in spite of the baseball schedule. Our 61st wedding anniversary arrives on August 30th, the day of a possible strike.

Our faith in God has carried us through!

Gratefully,

Lulu Harwell”


I found the image of the Comerica Park tribute flag and some vintage family portraits of Ernie and Lulu at the fascinating blog of their granddaughter, Anne Harwell. Anne is a talented artist. Art lovers and baseball fans will be glad they stopped.

A Standing Ovation for Ernie Harwell

For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Ernie Harwell is a man of Biblical proportions. He didn’t write such a verse. It’s from the Song of Solomon (2:11-12). But his annual welcoming of baseball’s return rang in my mind today, a perfect morning pre-game welcome for this gorgeous May day.

The 92-year-old Tigers broadcasting legend told the baseball world more than eight months ago that he’s facing inoperable cancer. The state of Michigan celebrated Ernie Harwell Day in April. I want to celebrate Ernie Harwell’s spirit every day.

I still treasure my copy of the book Ernie Harwell: My 60 Years In Baseball (Honoring a Detroit Legend)
Likewise, I’ve been delighted with Harwell’s own Breaking 90: Nine Decades Young and Still Loving Baseball

As we face the loss of the game’s grateful inspiration, I wanted to share a copy of a letter I sent upon Harwell’s 2002 retirement — to Mrs. Lulu Harwell.

Dear Mrs. Harwell,

It’s time you get a “fan letter,” too. Instead, I’d call this a thank-you note.
When I learned that you have listened to ALL of Mr. Harwell’s broadcasts through the years, I swooned. Baseball history is full of amazing behind-the-scenes leaders like managers and general managers. They allow the players to take all the bows. Well, Tigers fans should offer you yearly standing ovations, too. You’ve kept the voice we love on the air.

Tiger fans have spent seasons enchanted by Ernie Harwell broadcasts. Each fan has thought he’s talking directly to HIM. That’s the magic. He’s always made that personal on-air connection knowing that he’ll be appreciated by one special Ernie Harwell fan. You! Fans like me overhear. We are the blessed eavesdroppers.
I’m grateful for the many summers you’ve shared your husband with the baseball world. I hope you and Mr. Harwell have a lovely retirement together.

Thank you, Ernie. Thank you, Lulu. I wish you many more innings together.

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